Loro Piana latest icon to fall into foreign hands

Luxury cashmere company 'to remain Italian' says family

Loro Piana latest icon to fall into foreign hands

(By Christopher Livesay) Quarona, July 9 - Sergio and Pier Luigi Loro Piana say that although they have sold their cashmere brand to French luxury dealer LVMH, its heart will remain in Italy. "Even if the property is no longer Italian, it will remain a company and a brand that is Italian," the brothers said in a statement Tuesday. LVMH, the company that was formed by the 1987 merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton with champagne producer Moët Hennessy, bought 80% of the cashmere clothing dynasty Loro Piana for 2 billion euros on Monday. According to LVMH, the world's biggest luxury conglomerate, Loro Piana is the largest Western manufacturer of cashmere. The brothers say that jobs will be protected at the operation, known for tailoring some of the world's finest suits and other fine garments. "We would not have made a decision like this if we were not convinced that it is the best for our people," said Sergio Loro Piana. "Ours was not a random choice. "We are convinced that in this way the identity of the brand will be protected. "The company is Italian and will remain Italian. "(LMVH) is the guarantee that Loro Piana is the Italian representative for those who enjoy excellence". The governor of the region of Piedmont, where the company has been based since it was established in 1924 by Pietro Loro Piana, appealed to the brothers to make sure production did not leave Italy's northwest. "(That) would be a huge error," said Roberto Cota on Twitter. "We're talking about a product of extremely high quality, the fruit of a culture of homegrown craft that you can neither invent nor transfer". Italian Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato said the acquisition was business as usual. "We go shopping, they go shopping, we all go shopping," he said, referring to a recent flurry of French companies buying up Italian brands. The brothers will hold onto 20% of the family business and reserve their posts as directors. LVMH has acquired several iconic Italian brands over the years. Last month it purchased a majority share in Milan's historical Cova pastry-shop brand, based in the heart of the city's well-heeled fashion district. In 2011 it took over the luxury Italian fashion brand Bulgari. In the same year, fashion house Brioni went to France-based PPR and a controlling stake of Moncler was sold to French investment company Eurazeo. France is not the only foreign investor in iconic Italian fashion houses. In 2012 the Qatar royal family bought the Valentino Fashion Group (VFG) under its holding company Mayhoola for Investments Spc. Shares for LVMH rose 2.1% at the opening of the Paris stock exchange on Tuesday.

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