MILAN — The rash of cross-border

consolidation among perfumeries in Europe seems far from abating.

Italy’s largest perfumery chain, Limoni Spa, with 207 doors owned by Marbert AG, could be the next chain to be snapped up here, according to industry reports. Sources say the perfumery chain is currently being shopped around to the likes of France’s Parfumeries Marionnaud, which has 132 Italian doors, and Sephora, with 25, plus Germany’s Douglas, with 82.

Limoni executives could not be reached for comment. A spokesman at LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, which owns Sephora, declined comment and a spokeswoman from Marionnaud called the speculation "just a rumor."

"I cannot comment on that at this time," said Douglas Italia’s vice president Jorg Mingers.?Douglas executives in the firm’s German headquarters could not be reached Thursday due to a public holiday there.

Total beauty and personal care sales for Limoni came to $207.4 million last year, and the company expects to end 2002 with volume of $286.4 million, according to company executives.

All figures are converted from the euro at current exchange rates.

In other Limoni news, the perfumery has suspended its plan to list publicly here this year, due to unfavorable market conditions, said the firm’s marketing director Silvia Bassignani.

As for Marionnaud, reports are circulating in Europe that it is in discussions with Germany’s Parma-Aurel cooperative for a possible partnership. However, the Marionnaud spokeswoman referred to this, again, as "just a rumor."

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