OPERA SPA EMBARKS ON SHOPPING SPREE

Byline: Courtney Colavita

MILAN — After raising $176 million in capital, Opera SpA said Thursday it was ready to go shopping.
The closed-end fund, which is backed by the Roman luxury jeweler Bulgari, said it would buy a majority stake, for an undisclosed price, in the Italian watch company Sector. A statement said the deal should be completed by the end of April.
Owned by the Giardiello family, Sector is a leader in the Italian watch market with brands such as Sector, No Limits, Philip Watch and a line of timepieces designed by Roberto Cavalli. In 2000, Sector reported a net profit of $13.7 million on sales of $115 million. All dollar figures have been converted at current exchange rates.
Opera said it also would inject further funds to help finance the Sector brand’s relaunch abroad. As part of the relaunch, Opera said its management team would work with Sector to help bring the brand to the world market.
Launched last spring, Opera aims to infuse medium-sized Italian lifestyle companies with capital, help them grow and eventually take them public. As reported, Opera’s goal is to invest in four to five companies each year and build a stable 15 companies in the medium term.