LAROCHE SOLD: French pen and razor giant Bic has finally disposed of its Guy Laroche business, selling the money-losing fashion house to Rech International, a fledgling fashion group that controls Georges Rech. Bic Group announced the sale Thursday, saying it would net a post-tax capital gain of about $6 million from the transaction. The sale puts Guy Laroche in the hands of a fashion group managed by Leman Capital, a Geneva-based private equity firm specializing in middle-market buyouts in Europe. Guy Laroche president Yves Mathieu, who will continue in his current capacity, said the new owners have ambitions to build a luxury fashion group and make acquisitions in such areas as watches, accessories and fashion. According to Leman, the Guy Laroche brand generates retail sales of about $150 million, about half of that from fragrance, which is licensed to L’Oreal and headlined by the men’s scent Drakkar. Other licensed products include men’s and women’s underwear and accessories.
MORE DIAMONDS IN MAYFAIR: LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton confirmed that its joint venture with De Beers to establish a high-end chain of diamond retailers is “on track” despite the events of Sept. 11 and the downturn in luxury goods consumption experienced in their aftermath. Meanwhile, De Beers has said that the firm would open its first store, a 7,500-square-foot unit on two floors, at 45 Old Bond Street, on the corner of Picadilly in London’s Mayfair section, within 18 months. An LVMH spokesman denied that plans for other stores are in the works.
PRADA’S PRICE: Deutsche Bank Thursday set a price of $8.99 on Prada’s $624.1 million bond issue. The Milan luxury goods firm said demand for the bonds was five times the number allotted. As reported, the 3 1/2-year bond bears a fixed interest rate of 1.5 percent and an option to be cashed in if Prada doesn’t seek an initial public offering within the life of the bond. Each bond can be cashed in at 111.3 percent of the purchase price if an IPO doesn’t occur in the next 42 months. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange rates.