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Swiss group sells luxury goods company

The Swiss company, Schweizerhall, has sold the French luxury goods maker, Boucheron, to the Italian designer, Gucci, for SFr250 million.

Schweizerhall said that the current reorganisation of the luxury goods sector had resulted in many groups expressing interest in buying Boucheron, a leading name in jewellery, watch-making and perfumes.

The French company, founded in 1858, had a turnover of SFr185 million last year. Gucci will take over Boucheron on July 1.

Schweizerhall, a Basel-based group specialising in the trade of chemical products, bought a majority stake in Boucheron in 1994, and acquired the remaining 49 per cent of the stock last year.

It said the proceeds from the sale would be used to settle part of its debt, and for the development of the group in its strategic fields of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

"The significant financial injection from the sale of Boucheron will give us greater room for manoeuvre," said Schweizerhall's chairman, Hans-Peter Schaer.

swissinfo with agencies