Crystal producer Daum taken over by Financière Saint-Germain (Haviland, Lalique)

PARIS, 11 May 2009 (AFP) – Private equity firm Axa sold the Lorraine based crystal producer Daum on the 11th of May to the holding company of businessman Prosper Amouyal, Financière Saint-Germain, which has already taken over the manufacturer Haviland and half of Lalique, according to a press release from the holding company.


Creations from the sculptor Sylvie Mangaud Lasseigne for Daum

The financial terms of the agreement have not be made public.

The two glassware syndicates, founded in 1878 and owned by Axa Private Equity since 2000, CFE-CGC and the CFDT voted in favour of the transfer project during a committee meeting of the business on Wednesday 6 May, but stated they remained vigilant on the issue of employment.

It is the “only possible alternative for the durability of Daum”, which had filed for bankruptcy in September 2003, stated the CFE-CGC in a press release.

The family holding group of Mr Amouyal “will occupy itself to maintain the industrial site at Vannes-le-Châtel (Meurthe-et-Moselle) and will invest there over the years 2009/2010”, it indicated in its press release.

Crystal manufacturer Daum employs around 110 workers on its production site in Lorraine, close to 20 at its design and industrialization site in Nancy, and close to 30 at its headquarters in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine).

Founded 130 years ago, Daum will still be directed by Sophie Le Tanneur, who became head of the crystal manufacturer in the middle of the 2000s to oversee the comeback of the business which filed for bankruptcy in 2003. The group has found an equilibrium once more and is concentrating on producing objects of art in crystal rather than jewels and tableware.

But, in the face of the economic crisis, which is weighing on sales, a plan of partial unemployment has been postulated for the production team, and should be put into place in the next few days according to the CFE-CGC.

The group Financière Saint-Germain has already taken over the porcelain manufacturer Haviland, the royal crystal producers of Champagne in Bayel (Aube), the goldsmiths Felix in Portet-sur-Garonne (Haute-Garonne) and 49.2% of the crystal company Lalique, acquired in 2008.

Together these brand constitute “a new luxury group in living art of more than €100 million” in turnover. Assuring that “each of the factories has its own know-how”, Prosper Amouyal, cited in a press release, insists on the development of “a distribution network”.

His objective is to offer the different brands of the group in the same boutiques. A first Haviland-Lalique boutique has already been opened in London and another should open “soon” in New York, stated the Financière Saint-Germain group.

By Jonathan Fulwell (Source: AFP)

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