Oct 27, 2009
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Hearings adjourned on Emirati bid for Christian Lacroix

Oct 27, 2009

PARIS, Oct 27, 2009 (AFP) - A French tribunal on Tuesday 27 October adjourned hearings on a bid by an Emirati sheikh to take over Christian Lacroix, four months after the couture house filed for bankruptcy, participants said.

Louis Petiet (L), head of Bernard Krief consulting, a potential buyer of French fashion designer Christian Lacroix House that filed for bankrupcy in July, speaks with the head of Lacroix House, Nicolas Topiol (R) - Photo: AFP/Patrick Kovarik

Citing procedural delays, the Paris competition tribunal set a new hearing for November 17, said a lawyer representing Sheikh Hassan Ben Ali al-Naimi.

The United Arab Emirates sheikh, who is close to the ruling family of the Ajman emirate, stepped in last month to take over the fashion house after Italian retailer Borletti withdrew its offer.

He made a formal 100-million-dollar offer for Christian Lacroix this month, in partnership with the designer, and is regarded as the frontrunner among the takeover bidders.

The others are Bernard Krief Consulting and La Financiere Saint Germain.

Judicial administrator Regis Valliot has said it was "likely" the tribunal would approve the sheikh's offer because of his commitment to save jobs, tackle the company's bills and rescue the fashion house.

Christian Lacroix chief executive Nicolas Topiol said the sheikh's bid was "entirely satisfactory for all parties, including Mr Christian Lacroix."

But Valliot said the court was unwilling to rule on the takeover until an economic recovery plan had been finalised for the ailing house, which opened in 1987 and released its first ready-to-wear collection the following year.

"It's just a matter of procedure. On November 17 it will examine both," Valliot said.

The final decision from the Paris tribunal is expected at a later date.

Acquired from the world's leading luxury giant LVMH in 2005 by US duty free giant Falic, Lacroix said it had been forced to declare insolvency due to the sharp downturn of the luxury market.

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