UPDATE 2-Court backs Christian Lacroix restructuring

Tue Dec 1, 2009 12:16pm EST

* Owners' restructuring plan approved

* Pret-a-porter, haute couture could be licensed out

* Talks ongoing with potential buyers

(Adds details on restructuring plan)

By Pascale Denis

PARIS, Dec 1 (Reuters) - A turnaround plan for fashion house Christian Lacroix that could see a licensee take on its haute couture and pret-a-porter activities was approved by a Paris court on Tuesday.

The ruling came after potential buyers -- Gulf investor Hassan bin Ali al-Nuaimi and France's Bernard Krief Consulting -- missed a deadline to provide financial guarantees sought for a takeover of the company.

The fate of Christian Lacroix is not yet sealed, however, as talks will continue with the prospective buyers even as Lacroix' owners try to trim the business back.

Christian Lacroix, the company behind the designer known for his baroque and embroidered dresses, was once part of French luxury giant LVMH (LVMH.PA) and now belongs to the Falic family, owners of U.S. retail group Duty Free Americas [DFI.UL].

The Falic group's turnaround plan consists of halting Lacroix's haute couture and pret-a-porter activities, with the aim of licensing them out to a third party in the event of a takeover.

Out of a staff of 120, only between 15 and 20 workers would be retained to maintain the licensing contracts for accessories and perfume.

The repayments to trade creditors are to be spread over ten years, while the company debts have been postponed.

Lacroix was placed under creditor protection at the start of June and has not made a profit since being founded 22 years ago.

In 2008, the company made a loss of 10 million euros ($15.06 million) on revenues of 30 million euros, while orders for its 2009 women's ready-to-wear summer collection were down 35 percent. ($1=.6638 Euro) (Writing by Lionel Laurent and James Regan; editing by Judy MacInnes) ((paris.equities@reuters.com; +33 1 49 49 54 52))