MILAN — La Perla employees received a reprieve this week.
In June, the Italian innerwear company said it was rationalizing its structure to focus on its core business. While pledging to keep production at its headquarters in Bologna, Italy, it planned to let go of 126 employees out of a total of 400 there. La Perla is now working on presenting a new industrial plan to unions, and job cuts are being suspended for the time being.
On Monday, the Ministry of the Economic Development requested La Perla’s management, headed by chief executive officer Pascal Perrier, submit a new plan to help safeguard the brand and its ties to Bologna.
While La Perla did not release an official comment, the Ministry’s web site noted that the meeting was helmed by the vice head of cabinet Giorgio Sorial, and attended by La Perla’s representatives, local associations and members of the unions.
According to the ministry, Perrier told the gathering that the “company’s crisis has persisted for several years and its relaunch needs to take place through a change in the business model, aimed at repositioning the brand in the luxury lingerie sector, the group’s core business.”
Sorial underscored that the company should “present as soon as possible an industrial plan that will restore dignity to a region and a brand associated to the territory and its identity.” He also requested that the company “suspend the collective layoff procedure, setting in motion all possible means to safeguard the level of employment and the plant’s production.”
At the end of the meeting, La Perla accepted to halt the job cuts until the next meeting to allow La Perla’s management “to work on the industrial plan that will be presented over the next few days to the local unions and to start a dialogue with those organizations.”
As reported, La Perla said in June it was focusing on its lingerie, underwear, night and beachwear, which the company considers “crucial for the continuity of the business and in order to ensure high-quality levels to the products and faster placement of products on international markets.” At the time, La Perla said the “reorganization plan is urgent and necessary to bring the operational management of the company, which has been suffering for the past two years, back into balance.”
Amsterdam-based private equity firm Sapinda Holding B.V. took over La Perla in February 2018 and last August appointed Perrier, a former Burberry and Gucci Group executive, as ceo.
Sapinda Holding bought 100 percent of the company from Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia, who had controlled La Perla since 2013.
As part of its new course, La Perla revealed in May it planned to increase its capital by 23 million euros, offering 5.1 million newly issued shares to external investors. The board approved the issuance of the shares based on an equity valuation of 450 million euros.
During his tenure, Scaglia built on the brand’s lifestyle offering, which includes men’s sleepwear, underwear and women’s sunglasses and added stores, reopening the company’s Madison Avenue flagship.
La Perla was founded in 1954 by corsetry-maker Ada Masotti. Her son, Alberto Masotti, headed the business until it was sold to San Francisco-based private equity player JH Partners in 2007, which later passed the firm on to Scaglia’s Pacific Global Management.
Earlier this month, British couture house Ralph & Russo welcomed a new partner in La Perla Fashion Investment BV, which has taken a $50 million, non-controlling minority share. Perrier is joining the board in a non-executive advisory capacity.
La Perla describes itself as wholly owned subsidiary of Tennor Holding BV, a global investment holding company that takes majority and minority stakes in public and private firms, as well as in public and private debt instruments. It is also an indirect majority shareholder of La Perla Global Management U.K. Ltd., the head office of the La Perla operating entity.