Exor, Hong Kong's WWICL enter partnership to invest in Italian high-end consumer goods

MILAN (Reuters) - Exor, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family, and Hong Kong’s The World-Wide Investment Company Limited said on Wednesday they entered a partnership to invest in medium-sized Italian companies focused on high-end consumer goods.

For this purpose, Exor and The World-Wide Investment Company Limited (WWICL), one of Hong Kong’s oldest family offices, will set up a 50-50 owned company called NUO S.p.A., which will be headed by Tommaso Paoli, they said in a joint statement.

It will have an initial capital of 300 million euros ($364 million), including a 30% stake in Italian personal care product company Ludovico Martelli.

Exor, which has around 2.5 billion euros available for acquisition to 2023, has recently moved its first steps into luxury industry buying a 24% stake in shoemaker Christian Louboutin and becoming the biggest investor in China’s Shang Xia, which was co-founded by France’s Hermes.

Its ownerships include carmaker Ferrari, which is also expanding into luxury.

NUO will “help its companies make their Italian expertise, creativity and authenticity available to global consumers, and especially in fast-growing Asian markets” Exor and WWICL said in a statement.

NUO, with a long-term investment horizon, will not only provide capital but also support companies on how to achieve greater scale, they added.

($1 = 0.8250 euros)

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari, Editing by Louise Heavens