Italian entrepreneur Scaglia bags La Perla at auction

BOLOGNA, Italy, June 4 (Reuters) - Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia, the founder of telecoms group Fastweb, bought ailing luxury underwear maker La Perla at a court-led auction on Tuesday.

Scaglia, who bid through Luxembourg-based SMS Finance, said he had won the auction with a 69-million-euro ($90 million) offer. Loss-making La Perla is being restructured under the supervision of a court in accordance with Italian law.

“We will make La Perla a great international brand for beauty and feminine luxury,” Scaglia told reporters.

Italy-based fashion group Calzedonia and Israel’s Delta Galil Industries also bid in the auction for La Perla.

La Perla has been looking for possible partners since the end of 2012 to help it withstand declining sales and a credit crunch at home.

The other two bids were very close to the winning offer, Scaglia said. Calzedonia chief Sandro Veronesi had previously said his company would pay 68 million for La Perla.

La Perla, which sells over 67 percent of its products in recession-hit Europe, booked revenues of 107 million euros in 2012, slightly lower than a year earlier.

The restructuring process has been closely watched by Italian trade unions, who fear job losses. The acquisition will protect 800 jobs, Scaglia said.

U.S.-based private equity fund JH Partners bought La Perla in 2008 and has invested around 50 million euros in the company.

Scaglia said he would pump a further 110 million euros into relaunching the brand.

$1 = 0.7675 euros Reporting by Valentina Accardo, Writing by Isla Binnie; Editing by Mark Potter