Roberto Cavalli RTW Fall 2020

MILANThere will be less of Florence and more of Milan in the new Roberto Cavalli brand.

The owner of the label has confirmed the plan first revealed last month to close its headquarters in Osmannoro, outside Florence. The decision involves transferring all 170 employees to Milan from the Tuscan city.

Unions Femca Cisl Firenze, Filctem Cgil Firenze and Rsu said in a statement that the company’s “lawyers have officially announced the immediate opening of the transfer procedure starting, presumably, from Sept. 1, 2020.”

A company spokesman confirmed the company’s decision to transfer the commercial and administrative functions to Milan, closing the Tuscan site. In a note, Roberto Cavalli pledged to “guarantee to all employees the treatments, terms and conditions in accordance with the CCNL [the national collective contract] for the transfer, offering continuity to all employees.”

However, the unions lamented the company’s “lack of willingness to give up the decision to transfer the site to Milan, once again, without motivating the general and economic reasons.” The unions have been asking to see the industrial plan that would justify such a move and noted that “a heated discussion” was held “to express the workers’ wish that a storied Florence brand would not leave its territory.”

While the industrial plan may be revealed next week, sources close to the company say that Roberto Cavalli will continue to operate in the luxury sector and maintain its production in Italy. It is also planning investments in the development of digital platforms, including e-commerce.

The unions have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the move to Milan, “a choice that we have tried to avoid with all means.” This “appears a decision that is unacceptable for a brand that, on the contrary, [was meant] to relaunch here in Florence. This is huge for the region and the decision would dramatically impoverish the territory,” a union spokesman said.

Back in 2016, with the goal to streamline its company structure, Cavalli said it was closing its Milan corporate and design offices and would transfer all functions to Tuscany, with a rationalization of production and logistics.

The acquisition of Roberto Cavalli was finalized at the end of November, as the founder and chairman of Damac Properties, Hussain Sajwani, confirmed the purchase of 100 percent of the fashion house through his private investment company Vision Investments. The investment firm, part of the Dico Group, is an evolution of a partnership that was signed in 2017 between Cavalli and the Dico Group for the development of Cavalli interiors for luxury hotels under the Aykon brand. The namesake founder of the brand is no longer involved in the Italian company.

Dico, which is Sajwani’s multibillion dollar investment arm established in 1992, is working on a five-star hotel tower in Dubai that is expected to comprise 220 rooms and be completed in 2023. When the deal was revealed, Cavalli chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris said this was the first of at least five Aykon hotels to open in 10 years and to be decorated by Cavalli. Damac, which is one of the top 10 companies publicly listed on the Dubai Financial Market with a market capitalization of $4 billion, is funding the project with an investment of $500 million. Damac is also building Just Cavalli villas in Dubai.

The acquisition put an end to a long series of twists and turns for Cavalli. In October, the Court of Milan approved the buyer’s restructuring plan for Cavalli after Vision Investment last summer signed a binding contract with the Florence-based fashion company and its shareholder Varenne 3. Italian private equity fund Clessidra Sgr took control of Cavalli in 2015 through its Varenne vehicle, which at the time included L-GAM and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd. The binding agreement was in compliance with Cavalli’s “composition with creditors” with the Court of Milan and it allowed the business to continue while it held discussions with creditors and implemented a debt restructuring plan. Financial details and the amount of the debt were not disclosed, although sources peg the transaction at around 160 million euros and believe the agreement includes a capital increase of around 65 million euros and the payment of all creditors.

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