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Italy jewellers see relauch with India investor

Italy jewellers see relauch with India investor
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First Published: Sun, Jan 16 2011. 04 44 PM IST
Updated: Sun, Jan 16 2011. 04 44 PM IST
Vicenza: Four Italian jewellery brands plan to boost sales and regain export market share with the help of India’s Gitanjali, which has bid to buy them, the head of the holding group uniting the Italian jewellers told Reuters.
Gitanjali Gems Ltd, India’s biggest jewellery retailer, last September bought jeweller Valente Milano and said it would spend about €20 million ($26.9 million) to buy four other Italian brands to boost sales in Europe and the Middle East.
The capital injection comes at a time when many Italian jewellery makers are struggling to keep up sales as consumer demand is impacted in the wake of the global economic crisis and competition heats up from lower cost countries.
“With the new investor, Gitanjali, the brands will be able to push ahead with marketing investments (and) create new products,” Stefano Solaro, chief executive of the holding company BLU, said in an interview at an international jewellery fair.
Gitanjali is expected to complete the purchase of Stefan Hafner, IO Si, Porrati, Nouvelle Bague, grouped under the BLU umbrella, by the end of January, Solaro said.
The four brands were previously owned by now bankrupt DIT Group, a unit of debt-heavy Dubai jewellery group Damas International. BLU was set up to help the four keep working when DIT sought to restructure debt, he said.
Under the bankruptcy settlement, Gitanjali’s funds would go towards partial debt repayment to DIT’s creditors, including Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Popolare di Verona, part of Banco Popolare group and Popolare di Vicenza, Solaro said.
Gitanjali is expected to inject several million euros into the brands’ development in 2011, he said.
Under a 2011-2013 business plan, the four Italian brands plan to boost sales by 50% a year to return to pre-crisis annual revenue of between €20 million and 25 million, up from 7 million in 2010, he said.
Gitanjali would keep the identity of the four brands, ranging from a diamond-rich Stefan Hafner with price tags ranging as high as €300,000 to a colourful enamelled gold and diamond Nouvelle Bague with prices ranging from €1,200 to 10,000, Solaro said.
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First Published: Sun, Jan 16 2011. 04 44 PM IST