It could not be determined yet whether Safilo has persuaded the LVMH group to allow it to sell and market also the Yves Saint Laurent eyewear collection in behalf its other major licensing partner, the Gucci Group. All we know for the moment is that the negotiations with LVMH have also involved the latter's possible sale to Safilo of a Florida-based US chain of sunglass stores trading under the Solstice banner. Safilo, which had previously resisted the vertical integration strategies pursued by Luxottica and De Rigo, says its negotiations on this point are still going on.

Meanwhile, LVMH agreed to sign last Dec. 20 a new licensing contract with Safilo for its own Christian Dior couture brand that will last this time for 7 years, expiring in 2008. The previous Dior license had lasted only 5 years. It ended up generating about 10 percent of Safilo's overall sales, which reached 949 million euros in the first 9 months of 2001.

On the other hand, Safilo dropped last Nov. 30 its license for Gianfranco Ferré eyewear, which it had held since 1984. The fashion house of Ferré, a former head designer of Dior, was taken over last year by IT Holding, an Italian group that controls Allison. The latter will make a distribute Ferré eyewear from Jan. 1 on.

Safilo's quotation on the Milan stock exchange came to an end last Dec. 17, following completion of a secondary bid for the remaining 7 percent equity at e14.48 a share by Programma 2002, the investment vehicle of Vittorio Tabacchi. Programma 2002 has an option to redeem the 0.18 percent stake still on the Bourse within the next 4 months at a new price due to be set by a court-appointed expert.