NEW YORK — Calida Holding AG, a Swiss-based sleepwear and underwear specialist, has entered into an agreement to acquire Aubade Paris, a French maker of upscale lingerie.

The deal is expected to be completed in mid-2005, according to a statement on the calida.com Web site. A purchase price was not available.

Aubade, a 47-year-old manufacturer of sultry bras and panties and elaborate jeweled thongs, generated estimated wholesale sales of 48.6 million euros in 2004, which translates to $60.4 million at average exchange. Calida, which posted sales of 138 million Swiss francs, or $111.2 million, owns and operates 90 boutiques in Switzerland and Germany. The Calida brand was created in 1941.

Marc Kristel, vice president of Aubade’s U.S. operations here, said in a phone interview that Aubade employees received an internal announcement of the pending acquisition on Friday.

“The culture and size of Calida is very similar to ours,” said Kristel. “They will remain independent entities.”

There was no indication if the merger would result in a reduction in the number of workers at Calida, which employs 630. The founding families, the Kellenbergers and the Palmers, reduced their stake in the firm to less than 50 percent in 2004. Third-generation Aubade, owned by the Pasquier family, employs 530.

Ann-Charlotte Pasquier, who has co-managed Aubade Paris since 1998, is expected to be named general director of the Aubade brand under the new organization and Sabine Pasquier, general director of Aubade’s operations in Germany, is expected to continue her present responsibilities.

In a statement, Thomas Lustenberger, chairman of Calida, said the acquisition of Calida will “strengthen our strategic positioning in the intensely competitive international market for lingerie and lay the basis for future growth.”

Calida’s chief executive officer, Felix Sulzberger, noted the merger of two leading brands in their core markets — Calida’s core cotton business and Aubade’s sexy embellished trade — will transform the two companies into a publicly owned corporation driven by its management.

“This acquisition will give the Calida Group a strong entry into the market in the sector of high-value lingerie brands, as well as a decisive expansion in terms of geographic distribution,” he said.

This story first appeared in the May 10, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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