Nov 18, 2009
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No takers for fashion house Christian Lacroix

Nov 18, 2009

PARIS, Nov 17, 2009 (AFP) - The outlook for lavish French couture house Christian Lacroix looked increasingly bleak Tuesday 17 November as a French tribunal adjourned bankruptcy hearings with no fresh news of a buyer.

Christian Lacroix
Photo : AFP

"To this day, bidders to take over the firm have not justified the means of financing their company plans, or at least not sufficiently," said judicial administrator Regis Valliot after a three-hour hearing at the Paris tribunal.

A new hearing was set for December 1 and Valliot said both an Emirati sheikh and a French firm interested in stepping in to save the prestigious house could submit details to the tribunal before that date.

Sheikh Hassan Ben Ali al-Naimi, who is close to the ruling family of the Ajman emirate, stepped in in September to take over the fashion house after Italian retailer Borletti withdrew its offer.

He made a formal 100-million-dollar (67-million-euro) offer for Christian Lacroix in October, in partnership with the designer, and was regarded as the frontrunner among the takeover bidders.

Another interested party was Bernard Krief Consulting.

Valliot had 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 for his part had said the sheikh's bid was "entirely satisfactory for all parties, including Mr Christian Lacroix."

The court had been expected to deliver a ruling Tuesday 17 November after receiving an economic recovery plan for the ailing house, which opened in 1987 and released its first ready-to-wear collection the following year.

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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