Elite, the Italian eyewear manufacturer established in 1998 to produce private labels for chains such as Randazzo, has gone into administration following a hearing in the court of the city of Treviso. For the company's 35 employees the decision came as a relief, as they will now be made officially redundant, getting severance fees and help in finding work elsewhere.

Production ceased last December, leaving the workforce idle and salaries unpaid. Although the employees are considered privileged creditors, the unions are pessimistic about the chances of them obtaining payment of back salaries. It appears that neither the plant nor the machinery belonged to the company.

The company's debt amounted to over €4 million in 2007, almost double the €2.2 million figure posted for 2006, the year Elite was granted a 10-year license by Aeffe to produce Pollini eyewear. The following year the license was extended to include the Studio Pollini collections, and though it has never published full financial data for its eyewear business, Aeffe announced that the results of the first year of collaboration with Elite were superior to expectations.

Then at the beginning of February, as we have reported, Aeffe abruptly terminated all its licensing agreements with the Elite Group, which also held the license for Napapijri. Aeffe announced that its decision was motivated by the company's serious financial difficulties, and the fact that its eyewear business generated a mere €300,000, just 0.1 percent of its overall revenues of €297 million. The whereabouts of Deborah Amarilli, the owner of Elite, are currently unknown, and it seems unlikely that she will show up on June 20 at the meeting scheduled to be held with the group's creditors. The possibility of bankruptcy fraud has not been ruled out.

Another Italian eyewear company in difficulty ? Intersol, a sunglass producer based in the province of Varese whose 90 employees had been on temporary layoffs since last September ? has met with a more fortunate outcome. A month ago, an industrial group by the name of Gruppo Paolillo set up an ad hoc company to lease the firm and resume its production with 25 of the 90 workers. Negotiations are under way to bring in potential partners from the eyewear and other sectors ? Gruppo Paolillo itself has no existing operations in the eyewear business ? with the aim of resuming Intersol's activity full scale. In the past the company produced renowned eyewear brands such as Tonino Lamborghini.