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LVMH gives Loro Piana free hand even after acquistion

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-07-08 15:00:00 – Paris

LVMH, a French multinational luxury goods conglomerate, headquartered in Paris and a home to 70 distinguished Houses rooted in six different sectors. True to tradition, each of their brands builds on a specialty legacy while keeping an unwavering focus on the exquisite caliber of its products has acquired 80 percent majority stake of Loro Piana, an Italian clothing company specializing in high end wool and cashmere products with headquarters in Quarona, a small town in northern Italy.

Pier Luigi Loro Piana, vice-president, has no doubt that the company is exactly like it was before even after the acquisition by LVMH. As unlike past acquisitions, LVMH is allowing the fashion house to keep its own development strategy unchanged, with a controlled expansion and a conservative approach to investments as the principal guidelines.

With LVMH loosening its grip on Hermès last year, the importance of a brand with a niche positioning like that of Loro Piana is growing within the group’s portfolio.

The strategy of [Bernard Arnault] is the strategy of not changing . . . the brand was preserved and its personality respected, Mr Loro Piana said, referring to the chairman and chief executive of the French luxury group.

It was precisely the company’s identity in which the French group was interested when the high-quality textile producer was added to the LVMH cluster of brands. LVMH is respecting its heritage and market positioning, the two main assets of the brand, said Mario Ortelli, an analyst Bernstein Research.

The manufacturer, known for its baby cashmere and vicuna fibre, is already benefiting from all those synergies derived from belonging to the group, said Mr Loro Piana, such as logistics and access to prime commercial spaces thanks to LVMH’s privileged relations with mall owners, particularly in Asia.

Mr Loro Piana said that the main objective is being competitive with ourselves, catering to its niche clients and reaching out to new ones with the same characteristics, with no intention of changing their offer or segment.

In China, the company has space to conquer, with plans to open new boutiques as well as refurbishing existing ones. Investment policy remains conservative, with equal weighting between geographical areas without concentrating too much on one country, as the division of risk is very important. The company intends to balance new markets with more traditional such as North America and Europe.

The year 2015 will certainly be a good year, confirming the positive trend of the past three years, as there will be moderate growth, but growth for the company.

In the most recent figures disclosed by the group, in July 2013, revenue for that year was expected at €700m with an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margin in excess of 20 percent of sales.

The company is expected to adapt its men’s clothing estimated to be about two-thirds of its revenue to be more contemporary, as well as developing more accessories and leather goods, making them a bigger slice of the business. There are margins for further development, but LVMH does not want to accelerate growth to the point of distorting the brand, Mr Ortelli said.

Loro Piana was a family-run company, founded in the early 1900s and latterly led by Pier Luigi and his late brother Sergio, as co-chief executives. The company has stores in Italy, as well as in many major cities in Europe, North America, and Asia, totalling 132 stores worldwide.

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