Lanvin shareholder Wang to inject funds into struggling label

PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) - France’s oldest fashion house Lanvin, which has suffered a sales slump since a design shake-up two years ago, said on Tuesday majority shareholder and Taiwan-based businesswoman Shaw-Lan Wang would inject fresh cash into the label by the year-end.

Auditors at the privately-owned firm have filed a warning with a commercial court in Paris over its financial troubles, Reuters reported on Monday.

A recapitalisation was needed to buy some breathing space or Lanvin would struggle to pay employees’ salaries in January, several sources had said, adding that a cash injection was likely by the end of 2017.

Lanvin said in a statement it was working on its new strategy and that Wang, a Chinese-born media magnate who owns 75 percent of the firm, would put more money in, without detailing how much. The company does not publish earnings.

The funds would be used to back future projects to help reposition Lanvin, the firm added.

“Madame Shaw-Lan Wang has always believed in Lanvin and believes in its future and in its talented teams,” Lanvin said.

The label, which dates back to 1889 and was named after couturier Jeanne Lanvin, has long been synonymous with Parisian chic and had enjoyed a revival in recent years under former star designer Alber Elbaz.

His surprise sacking in 2015 was followed by a slump in sales, however, which is forecast to deepen this year by another 30 percent after a 23 percent drop in last year, sources said.

Nicolas Druz, a close advisor of Wang’s who has just been appointed deputy managing director, told Reuters on Tuesday that Lanvin was looking at branching into new avenues such as “art of living” products, which usually includes high-end homeware.

The label could also look at hotel projects using the Lanvin name, he said, without elaborating on how this might work.

“It’s not just about new capital, we’re thinking about other revenue streams too,” Druz said.

Lanvin is on its second designer since Elbaz, after naming Olivier Lapidus - a one-time menswear designer for Balmain who is also known for experimenting with technology and clothes - to the position in July. (Reporting by Sarah White and Pascale Denis, editing by David Evans)