Chinese firm snaps up French lacemaker
Traditional French lacemaker Desseilles will be bought by Chinese firm Yongsheng following an arbitration decision by a commercial court, the company said Friday.
The court chose Yongsheng from among three potential buyers because it has promised to maintain the jobs of 60 of the firm's 74 employees for at least three years.
The Chinese firm also made a commitment to keep the Desseilles factory in the northern port city of Calais for at least five years.
Lacemaking has a strong tradition in Calais, whose economy has been hit hard by the presence of a large camp of refugees hoping to reach England across the Channel.
Michel Berrier, Desseilles' marketing manager, admitted that the identity of the new owners had intially created some alarm, but insisted it was unfounded.
"As soon as you say 'Chinese' when talking about a takeover, you get a knee-jerk reaction, but in this case the fundamental point was to maintain and develop the site in France," he told AFP.
He described Yongsheng's project as "very ambitious" and said the group wanted to tap "French expertise in lacemaking" to develop clothing for the Chinese market.
Desseilles already exports 70 percent of its production to Asia.
Berrier said Yongsheng intends to invest around 4.0 million euros ($4.5 million) in the next few years and to buy the factory, which Desseilles currently rents.
"If everything goes as planned, Desseilles will take on more staff in the next three years to meet new orders," he added.
© 2016 AFP