MILAN, April 5 Italian luxury brand Gucci has
offered to buy distressed porcelain maker Richard Ginori 1735
and relaunch the centuries-old brand in the home design market.
In a statement on Friday, Gucci, owned by Kering
of France, said it had offered 13 million euros ($16.93
million)for Richard Ginori, one of the symbols of Italian
The company was put on sale by special administrators
appointed to stop it going bankrupt.
"The offer is based on a long-term industrial and strategic
plan and aims to protect and relaunch a historic Florence
brand," said Gucci, which is also based in the historic Italian
Richard Ginori, which has worked with designers such as Gio
Ponti and Missoni, is among several Italian brands failing to
stand on their own in an increasingly competitive market.
Burdened by debt, it was first rescued in 2007 by Italian
investor Roberto Villa, who restructured it and brought it back
to the stock market in 2009.
But the credit squeeze during the 2008 financial crisis
weighed on the relaunch.
A previous offer by a consortium led by American tabletop
maker Lenox Corp in November did not go through.
The planned sale has raised concern among its employees,
mostly based at the group's historic plant in Tuscany.
Gucci said it aimed to develop luxury tableware in the
medium to short term, while striving to keep production local
and hiring 230 workers at the company.
Kering, which has changed its name from
Pinault-Printemps-Redoute and owns luxury handbag maker Bottega
Veneta and menswear brand Brioni, is also in talks to buy