The number of manufacturers of eyeglass frames in the Jura region of France has fallen from more than 70 to only about 15 over the last 20 years, and it continues to decline. A medium-sized company who had some nice fashion licenses, Bouvret, is now being shut down, reportedly after efforts to find a new investor that indicated its possible continuation.

According to the Acuité.fr news portal, about 40 persons are going to be dismissed from the company by Nov. 25. Efforts to obtain further details from the management, including the fate of its licenses, have been unsuccessful for months. Court authorities placed André Bouvret SA and an affiliated company, Bouvret Developpement, in receivership one year ago. Last Oct. 25, on the first day of the Silmo fair, they called for the liquidation of both companies.

One of Bouvret's previous licensors, the Chantal Thomas fashion house, had stopped working with it before the last Mido fair in Milan. At the recent Silmo fair in Paris, where it kept its booth open through the last day, Bouvret was still listed as the licensee for other important fashion brands such as Catimini, New Man, Rodier and Ted Lapidus.

The problems of companies like Bouvret or Berthet-Bondet have created more anxiety in the so-called ?plastic valley? of France, where the vast majority of the remaining eyewear manufacturers are located. Local industry officials blame the growing competition from the much larger Italian companies. Two other French companies, Sipal and Maier, reportedly went bankrupt recently. Among other consequences, a local supplier of injection moulding machinery, Billion, was recently forced to lay off 46 employees.