ARNAULT, WORMS, AGNELLIS FORM INVESTMENT FIRM

PARIS--Luxury czar Bernard Arnault, French investment company Groupes Worms & Cie. and Italy's Agnelli family, the owners of Fiat, have created a joint investment vehicle with a potential war chest of approximately $200 million (1 billion francs).
Named Pechel Industries, the new company will take "limited stakes in unquoted companies offering strong growth potential," according to a joint statement from the partners. It did not indicate in what sectors Pechel hoped to invest.
Pechel's financing will be provided by "French and international" groups, "sharing long-term vision in industrial projects," it added.
A spokeswoman for Arnault said that it had not been decided which holding of the financier would participate in Pechel.
Arnault is the chairman and controlling shareholder of LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which controls the fashion and fragrance businesses of Kenzo, Givenchy and Christian Lacroix; Christian Dior Couture; Guerlain; the luggage and leather goods business of Louis Vuitton; jeweler Fred; Hennessy brandy, and one-quarter of the French champagne business.
Nicholas Clive Worms, the senior partner in Groupes Worms, is a member of the board of LVMH. Groupes Worms was a powerful backer of Arnault's takeover of the Boussac group, his first acquisition in fashion and luxury, in the early Eighties. In 1993, it also sold LVMH a one-fourth stake in Kenzo.

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