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Family business Luxottica buys Brazilian eyewear firm

By Giulia Cambieri

Luxottica, the world's largest eyewear group which is 70% controlled by the Del Vecchio family, said it has signed an agreement to acquire Grupo Tecnol, as the Italian family business continues to expand in Latin America.

Luxottica, which owns sunglass brands including Ray-Ban and Oakley and makes frames for Chanel, Prada, Burberry and Tiffany’s, said the value of the deal is about €110 million.

Grupo Tecnol, which is the main Brazilian eyewear maker, has a portfolio that includes house and licensed brands such as Benetton, Pierre Cardin, Kipling and Playboy.

The group also has a retail chain of 90 stores and reported revenues of about €90 million in 2010, compared to Luxottica’s €5.8 billion in the same year.

The Milan-based group is expected to acquire 80% of the Brazilian company’s capital at the beginning of 2012, while the remaining 20% should be purchased over the next four years at a pre-determined price.

The acquisition should help the Italian company avoid Brazil’s duties on imported products and consolidate the group’s position in Latin America following the acquisition this year of the Mexican eyewear chains Stanza and High Tech.

“This operation perfectly fits into our long-term growth strategy,” Luxottica chief executive Andrea Guerra said in a statement.

“Brazil is one of the countries where Luxottica aims at being as ‘domestic’ as it is in Italy, where it was established 50 years ago,” he added.

Luxottica was established in 1961 by Leonardo Del Vecchio, who is Italy’s second richest man with a net worth of more than $10 billion (€7.4 billion) according to Forbes. The 76-year-old is still chairman of the company but his son Claudio, who joined the group in 1978 and became director in 1985, is considered by many as the family business’s heir apparent.