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Strong growth ensures family control at Versace

Family-owned fashion house Versace announced on 30 March that its revenue for 2010 has increased by 9.1% following a painful restructuring process.

Fully-owned by the Versace family, the Milan-based company said in a statement that its revenues for 2010 rose to €292 million from €268 million the year before. But the growth didn’t come easily for the group, which saw an extensive restructuring process over the last year.

Reports say that the group cut a quarter of its jobs, shut its operations in Japan and lessened its in-house production process with a view to reduce debt and revive the fledgling business. With a rise in profits in 2010 to €22.3 million after an undisclosed loss last year, the cuts have proved worth the pain for the family-controlled company.

Non-family chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris told The Wall Street Journal that the positive results will help the business stay in family control. “The goal is to remain independent because the family owners say they want it to be private.”

Reports say that the Versace family have no plans to sell the business, and the revenue growth only further cements their healthy position. When contacted, the group was unavailable for comment.

The luxury sector has seen a spate of mergers over the last few months led by LVMH, which purchased Italian jeweller Bulgari, and acquired a 20% stake in fellow-family controlled luxury goods maker Hermes, which has led to an ongoing battle for control between the two families.

Versace was founded by Gianni Versace in 1978. He was shot dead in 1997, after which his sister Donatella Versace took over the business. Versace is now owned by Donatella, with her brother Santo Versace and daughter Allegra. Non-family Ferraris joined the group as chief executive in 2009, and is credited with reviving the fortunes of the company.

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