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E-Land Finalizes Mandarina Duck Buy

Korean group has appointed Christopher Bizzio as chief executive officer of the accessories brand.

MILAN — The Korean E-Land Group said Friday it has finalized the acquisition of Cadriano, Italy-based accessories brand Mandarina Duck, appointing Christopher Bizzio as chief executive officer.

Bizzio is a former Mandarina Duck executive who previously worked at Salvatore Ferragamo and Trussardi. Financial details were not disclosed, but sources tagged the sale at about 25 million euros, or $35.8 million at current exchange.

At the same time, the Braccialini family, together with a pool of investors, including the Sici private equity fund, bought back the Braccialini and Francesco Biasia accessories companies for 20 million euros, or $28.6 million.

“After two difficult years, we have plans to develop the brands and expand our retail network in emerging countries,” president Riccardo Braccialini told WWD. The group, which owns 56 stores, plans to reach 100 units in the next 12 to 18 months. Braccialini said he is planning a joint venture in India and to relaunch Biasia in the U.S.

In 2008, Mandarina Duck was incorporated under the Antichi Pellettieri umbrella, the leather goods unit that belonged to the now-bankrupt Mariella Burani Fashion Group. In July, Antichi Pellettieri took full control of Mosaicon, which owned the Braccialini and Biasia businesses, from private equity fund 3i SGR for 7.5 million euros, or $10.5 million. Handbags firm Coccinelle remains part of Mosaicon.

E-Land, which formed a venture with Kate Spade in Mainland China and has more than 40 retail nameplates, is gradually forming a fashion conglomerate, as it has over the past year bought Italy’s sportswear brand Belfe and footwear group Sutorio-Lario, which includes the Lorenzo Banfi label.

Despite the Burani financial woes and the difficult economy, Braccialini last year posted a profit of 2.5 million euros, or $3.3 million at average exchange, and sales of 70 million euros, or $92.4 million, up 7 percent compared with the previous year.

“We were working with our handbrake on, but now that we have tranquility and stability at a financial and company level, we expect to restart once again,” said Braccialini.

In addition to its own namesake brand, Braccialini produces handbags under license for Vivienne Westwood, Amazon Life and Looney Tunes and controls the historic Gherardini label.