Liu Jo secures €15 million loan from Italian government
The Italian government continues to support the local fashion industry through a variety of initiatives. In July, it intervened to bail out luxury menswear label Corneliani, and now it is lending a helping hand to Liu Jo, to bolster its expansion. State-controlled Italian investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) has announced in a press release it is backing “Liu Jo’s expansion plans via a financing agreement worth €15 million in total.”
“The funding is chiefly targeted at realising an investment plan whose goals are product innovation and international expansion, as well as scaling up the group’s dimension,” said CDP. Nunzio Tartaglia, head of CDP’s Private Business division, said that “the support given to Liu Jo is consistent with CDP’s goal of working alongside top Italian Mid-Caps who are striving to boost the quality of Made-in-Italy products, in the country and worldwide.”
Liu Jo was founded in 1995 in Carpi, in the central Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, a long-established knitwear hub. The company generates a revenue of approximately €400 million and has 800 employees. Liu Jo products, including ready-to-wear, handbags, footwear, fashion accessories, jewellery, furniture, perfumes and eyewear, are distributed via 510 monobrand stores and 6,200 multibrand retailers in 48 countries.
“Over the years, Liu Jo has been able to gain an attractive competitive position and establish a widely known brand, thanks to the managerial skills of founder Marco Marchi, who has always invested in product innovation, new materials’ R&D and marketing initiatives, constantly seeking to strike the right balance between financial and manufacturing capacity,” said Tartaglia.
Tartaglia added that “this has enabled the group to grow at a steady rate, one at which we are sure Liu Jo will continue to expand despite the current emergency, also thanks to [CDP’s] support, a way for us of being increasingly closer to local businesses.”
The Liu Jo group’s financial stability has enabled it to deal with the pandemic’s effects without excessive disruption, while sticking to its investment plan. In parallel, Liu Jo’s CEO Marco Marchi was able to push ahead with his latest project, the Eccellenze Italiane holding company, which incorporates Liu Jo and the Blufin group with its Blumarine, Blugirl and Anna Molinari labels, acquired by Marchi in 2019. The objective is to “build a fashion organisation through which we can tap the right financial and structural synergies, making it a hub for many valuable companies,” as Marchi told FashionNetwork.com in a recent interview.
In the case of Corneliani, the Italian government intervened by other means. To save the label, which was threatened with receivership, it invested €10 million in Corneliani, releasing for the first time the funds available through article 43 of Italy’s ‘Rilancio’ (recovery) decree. The money came from a €100 million fund set aside for 2020, for the preservation and reorganisation of companies that own long-established brands of national relevance, and of companies with less than 250 employees facing economic and financial difficulties.
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