Gucci bags distressed porcelain maker Richard Ginori

MILAN Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:38pm EDT

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Gucci, owned by French conglomerate PPR (PRTP.PA), is buying distressed Tuscan porcelain maker Richard Ginori 1735 as part of expansion plans into luxury tableware.

Gucci, whose offer of 13 million euros ($17 million) at the end of March was the only bid for the company, said the acquisition will be closed on May 22.

Richard Ginori was put up for sale by special administrators appointed to prevent it from going bankrupt.

Florentine's Gucci, known for its high luxury clothes and bags, said it would keep on the 230 workers at centuries-old Richard Ginori, one of several smaller Italian brands struggling to remain independent in an increasingly competitive environment.

The debt-burdened firm, which has worked with designers such as Gio Ponti and Missoni was first rescued in 2007 by Italian investor Roberto Villa, who restructured it and brought it back to the stock market in 2009.

But limited credit access during the financial crisis weighed on its relaunch.

A previous offer by a consortium led by U.S. tableware maker Lenox Corp in November did not go through.

PPR is due to change its name to Kering on June 18.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini and Antonella Ciancio; Editing by David Cowell)

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