Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
BOLOGNA

Fastweb founder takes control of La Perla

English
© ANSA

(By Kate Carlisle) Bologna, June 4 - Floundering luxury
lingerie maker La Perla was guaranteed a new injection of funds
needed to keep the historic company alive after SMS Finance, the
holding company of entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia, placed the
winning bid for its purchase on Tuesday.
Beating out stocking and sock specialist Calzedonia and
other suitors, Scaglia's Luxembourg-based SMS Finance paid an
administrative court 69 million euros for the Bologna makers of
costly corsets and undergarments.
"The La Perla brand is great and can certainly be
relaunched with enormous success. Something we intend to do,"
Scaglia, founder of Italian fiber optic telecommunications
provider Fastweb, said.
Founded in 1954 by a corset-maker in the city of Emilian
city Bologna, La Perla was bought in 2008 by US private equity
fund JH Partners, which invested around 50 million euros in the
firm.
Perhaps known as Italy's sexiest brand, the company led the
Italian and European market as top creator of luxurious and
fashionable nightwear, swimwear and loungewear for women and men
since Ada Masotti, an artisan skilled in the tradition of
hand-crafted corsetry, opened a boutique in Bologna.
The name La Perla was inspired by the red-velvet lined
cases in that transported Masotti's first creations like
valuable jewels or delicious bon bons to customers who special
ordered their artisanal pieces.
After starting with traditional skin-tones, La Perla
introduced new colored lingerie in the 1960s and then moved in
to swimwear in the 1970s in a continued push to diversify and
seek broader markets.
The company has been looking for possible partners since
the end of 2012 as it needs funds to slash its debt, estimated
at 70 million euros.
Today the brunt of La Perla's production remains in
Bologna.
The company employees about 1,400 people worldwide and has
some 134 Italian, foreign, single-brand and 'corner' stores.
Scaglia says that his plans for the company include
boosting its international retail network, making their items
available in 160 stores worldwide over the next three years.
A key part of the bid victory revolved around the 800
employees based in Italy and the vow to keep production in the
country.
With Fastweb and other companies, Scaglia said he "created
15,000 jobs, and I don't believe I have ever fired employees or
reduced my workforce during my professional history in Italy".
Calzedonia president Sandro Veronesi, who was beat out of
the bid by Scaglia's SMS, said that the purchase was a jump "out
of the American frying pan and into the Scaglia's cinders. I am
sorry for the employees".
Scaglia said that plans proposed by his group show that he
is ready to "invest at least 100 million euros to bring La Perla
back up to the level it deserves".
"We guarantee all employees, except for those from the
plant closed some time ago, continued work," Scaglia.
"The firm intends to leverage the concept of Made in Italy,
therefore keeping all production in Italy," Scaglia said.

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