Italy Court Seeks to Stop Sale of La Perla Lingerie Brand in UK

An Italian court is seeking to halt the sale of luxury lingerie firm La Perla after a UK judge ordered the liquidation of the holding company to recoup unpaid tax debts.

The Bologna court ruled the seizure of all the assets in London-based unit La Perla Global Management Ltd., including its valuable brand, according to local unions.

In November, a High Court judge in London wound up La Perla Global Management as the group faced £2.8 million ($3.6 million) of unpaid tax and a petition from the tax authourites.

La Perla is owned by German financier Lars Windhorst through his investment vehicle Tennor Holding BV. The controversial businessman was at the centre of a storm that saw investment fund H2O AM LLP lose billions of euros in redemptions due to concerns over holdings of thinly-traded debt issued by companies linked to Tennor. Since then, he has become embroiled in a number of other disputes, many of which have seen him pursued in court.

La Perla has a global retail network but manufactures most of its high-end products in Italy. The unions have requested for the company to be put in amministrazione straordinaria — a type of insolvency available for large companies overseen by the Italian government — which allows businesses to stay afloat during the process, according to Stefania Pisani, a union representative. A hearing to kick off administration is scheduled on Friday, she said.

The request to seize the assets was made by the unions after the UK liquidator told the Italian unit it was keen on selling “the brand to maximise return for creditors,” according to a statement.

The upmarket lingerie firm sells bras that can cost well over £300, as well as other items including nightwear, pyjamas and knickers, according to its website.

By Antonio Vanuzzo

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