Jun 9, 2009
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Safilo board to meet in days over bids

Jun 9, 2009

MILAN, June 9 (Reuters) - The board of Safilo Group (SFLG.MI), one of the world's biggest eyewear makers, will meet in coming days to review two offers from private equity firms for a stake in the company, a source close to the situation said on Tuesday 9 June.


Both Bain Capital and Pai Partners have submitted bids for a stake in Safilo, the source said, confirming news reports.

The board would meet by the middle of June, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Shares in the maker of eyewear for designer brands like Dior and Gucci were up 4.7 percent at 0.471 euros.

Safilo's main shareholder, Only 3T with a more than 39 percent stake, has been looking for new funding to strengthen the company's capital base.

In April, Chief Executive Roberto Vedovotto said he hoped to complete talks with a potential buyer by the end of June.

In addition to its financial problems, Safilo has seen its sales fall amid the global economic crisis. It has shut a plant in Italy, laid off workers and transferred some of its production to China.

At the end of March, its net debt reached 618 million euros ($857.4 million), up from 570 million at the end of 2008. (Reporting by Cristina Carlevaro; Writing by Gilles Castonguay; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.7208 Euro)

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