Four brands and licenses held by Vidivici and some other assets, including a beautiful ancient villa, have found a potential new owner after going into liquidation due to a serious financial crisis that occurred in the second half of 2008, in spite of constant growth in sales. It seems that many customers did not pay their invoices in time.
At the end of last November, a newly formed company called Horizon Vertical L.C. (HVLC) agreed to pay between €3 million and €4 million to acquire these assets of the Italian eyewear company, previously owned by Lele Danzi. The liquidation proceedings are being handled by Massimiliano Agretti, and they are not over yet.
Technically speaking, the firm is being leased with a management contract to HVLC, pending a settlement of the creditors' claims. This system enables the new management to keep on 15 of the 24 employees who were still on Vidivici's payroll last October and to deliver the merchandise ordered for this spring. As of last October, the staff had already been practically halved from January 2008, when the company still employed 45 people.
Two of the licenses formerly held by the Italian eyewear company ? Belstaff and Il Blasco, a joint venture with the Italian pop star Vasco Rossi ? are not part of the package negotiated with the liquidator. Since Jan. 12, HVLC's eyewear division has been distributing instead the 2008-09 collections of Vidivici's former brand, Exalt Cycle, and two other brands for which it holds the production licence, Sweet Years and Momodesign Eyewear. Another brand, Cigar, is apparently in standby.
The aim for 2009 is to supply between 600 and 700 outlets in Italy ? selected independent opticians, chains and buying groups ? with which the company intends to set up specific agreements. Five agents will service specific areas. Italian opticians are being offered guaranteed volumes, improved delivery times and support for the sell-out through events and promotions focusing on the point of sale.
For the first six months of its new business; the company is budgeting a turnover of €7 million, compared with the €10 million generated by Vidivici in the nine months of 2008 in which it was active, and the €15 million to €16 million posted in 2007. New house brands and licenses will be launched at Mido in March and at Silmo in September, the aim being to reach an annual turnover of €20 within the first three years.
HVLC has been established by Seragri Kids, an Italian producer of women's and children's clothing that trades under the Ludovica G. and Malù brands, and by an investment fund, NPL Gest. Run by Luca Gritti, the original owner of Seragri Kids, HVLC also operates in the cosmetics sector, notably by distributing the cosmetics of the Brazilian plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy in Italy.
Included in the package acquired by HLVC is Villa Meloni, a historical villa near Bologna that serves as Vidivici's prestigious head offices. The Villa will become the headquarters of HVLC, which aims to set up a conglomerate of top-end brands of products made in Italy. Besides eyewear, clothing and perfumes, it could be extended to bags, jewelery and other luxury objects.