By  on March 20, 2009

MILAN — Almost 1,250 Safilo employees risk losing their jobs, according to sources.

The Italian eyewear company may shut down its manufacturing company in Italy’s Precenicco, where 330 employees work. At Safilo’s Martignacco plant in Italy, which employs 600 people, 450 are to be let go, and 450 workers may be laid off at Safilo’s plant in Ormoz, Slovenia, which employs 1,100. The timings depend on negotiations between trade unions and Safilo, said a source.

Safilo, which holds licenses with Giorgio Armani, Dior, Gucci and Valentino and other major brands, employs 8,000 people and has seven manufacturing plants.

Safilo said Monday it was going to downsize its production in Italy and Slovenia because of the economy.

Safilo opened a manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China, at the end of January, which produces unfinished components in acetate and metal, and, according to a source, the unions accuse Safilo of firing their Italian employees in a plan to move production to China. Calls to the unions were not returned at press time, due to local labor strikes unrelated to Safilo.

Safilo has been hit by the progressively declining market conditions. During a conference call with analysts on Tuesday, Safilo said it expected first-quarter 2009 revenues to drop between 10 and 15 percent. On Monday, Safilo said net profits dropped to 14.6 million euros, or $21.5 million, in 2008, while sales fell 3.6 percent to 1.15 billion euros, or $1.69 billion.

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