MILAN — Safilo Group SpA said Wednesday that it had sold a portion of its retail units to Hal Holding NV for 13.7 million euros, or $19.7 million.

This story first appeared in the December 31, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Hal Holding acquired the Loop Vision chain in Spain, the Just Spectacles chain in Australia and all of Safilo’s retail units in China. The Italian eyewear group holds on to the remaining three chains — Solstice in the U.S. and both Sunglass Island and Island Optical in Mexico, which account for 215 of the company’s 300-plus retail units.

Safilo outlined this sale in a plan released on Oct. 19. In that plan, the eyewear firm said it would sell the Mexican chains as well, for a total of 20 million euros, or $28.80 at current exchange. However, the company said Wednesday it is retaining the Mexican chains “for now.” There are no plans to sell the Solstice chain.

The sale was part of a recapitalization deal struck with Hal Holding in mid-December, expanding its investment in Safilo from 2 percent to a controlling share that will eventually be from 37.23 to 49.99 percent. Without a successful offer, Safilo faced bankruptcy, with debts that amounted to about 590 million euros, or $848.9 million.

Despite economic difficulties, this month, Tommy Hilfiger awarded Safilo with a five-year license to produce sunglasses and prescription frames starting next year. Other brands produced by Safilo under license include Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino.

Safilo’s Dec. 31 deadline for loan repayment was also postponed by lending banks to June 30.

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