By  on October 24, 2008

MILAN — San Francisco-based JH Partners has only just acquired full control of Italy’s La Perla Group, but the private equity fund is already cutting jobs.

According to sources, JH Partners, which bought the remaining 30 percent stake in La Perla from founding family member and company chairman Alberto Masotti earlier this month, is seeking to lay off around 400 employees at the innerwear label as part of cost-cutting measures.

“Masotti’s out and now they’re getting aggressive,” sources said.

Company representatives met with trade union officials at La Perla’s headquarters in Bologna Thursday afternoon and negotiations are expected to drag on for some time, sources said. Three-quarters of the redundancies are targeted at the base.

Neither a spokesperson for JH Partners nor the secretary of the CGIL trade union office in Bologna could be reached for comment at press time.

On Tuesday, La Perla managing director and JH Partners partner Jeff Hansen said the fund’s aim was “to achieve growth and profitability,” and that it had already “made great strides to turn [La Perla] around” since acquiring 70 percent of the $270 million label in 2007.

La Perla operates 78 boutiques worldwide and is available at about 3,000 multibrand stores.

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