PARIS — There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for Lucien Noyon, one of France’s last remaining producers of Calais lace, which filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.
The beleaguered firm, founded in 1919, has teamed with some of its major lingerie clients to put forward a takeover offer that includes the acquisition of all its equipment and stock as well as the continued employment of 170 associates under a new company, Noyon Dentelle.
The proposition was put to the business tribunal of Boulogne-sur-Mer yesterday, which will evaluate the offer before a further hearing, set for Feb. 9. Since it entered receivership in September, the company said it has been working to find a solution that would enable it to carry on operating all of its sectors — knit and Leavers lace for the lingerie and ready-to-wear sectors — and to offer continued employment to 170 people out of the 240 it employed when it began proceedings.
Under the proposal, Noyon Dentelle would be 80 percent owned by four industrial and commercial partners — Van de Velde, La Perla, Etam and MAS Holdings — which would each take a 20 percent stake. “We express our gratitude for the assistance they have brought this project and that will allow the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Noyon lace,” Lucien Noyon stated.
Ten percent of the new company would be owned by current management and employees, and the remaining 10 percent by PBO, Lucien Noyon’s current holding company.
Henri-Philippe Durlet, Lucien Noyon’s managing director, would hold the same position at the newly formed entity under an advisory board made up of its shareholders.
Times are delicate for France’s embattled lace industry, which at one point employed some 20,000 people. But there have been significant changes over recent months as market players rallied to try to perpetuate and develop the segment.
French lacemaker Sophie Hallette’s parent company Groupe Holesco, in which Chanel recently took a minority investment, last April won the bidding to acquire Codentel, an ailing industrial lacemaker that entered receivership in December 2015. Holesco also acquired 100 percent of fellow French firm Dentelles MC in August. Meanwhile, in March 2016, textile and apparel producer Hangzhou Yongsheng Group acquired Desseilles, saving it from closure.