(Corrects reference to Gucci in third paragraph)
MILAN, April 22 Italy's Gucci, owned by French
conglomerate PPR, 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.
Florence-based Gucci, known for its 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.
($1 = 0.7644 euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini and Antonella Ciancio; Editing
by David Cowell)