Investindustrial acquires control of Italian lighting group Flos-Reuters

(Reuters) – Italian private equity firm Investindustrial has agreed to buy a majority stake in Flos in a deal which a source close to the company said valued the Italian lighting business at around 400 million euros ($517 million).

Investindustrial will control around 80 percent of Flos, which among its other products still makes the classic Arco and Toio floor lamps designed in 1962 by the Castiglioni brothers, part of the collection at the New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

“Investindustrial will support Flos in the continuation of its industrial and global expansion, through organic growth and selective add-on acquisitions,” the two companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

The deal is expected to close in the last quarter of 2014.

Current Flos shareholders the Gandini and Rodriquez families will retain a stake in the group. As part of the deal, Federico Martinez Weber, chief executive of Flos’s Spanish unit, will also become a shareholder.

Piero Gandini, until now the top shareholder in Flos, will carry on as chief executive, a role he has held for the past 18 years.

Flos is one of several prestigious Italian design brands in needing to fund international expansion amid stiffer competition. Earlier this year U.S. office furnisher Haworth took over Italian chair maker Poltrona Frau.

Flos made sales of 154 million euros in 2013.

The group’s Spanish business, which Flos acquired in 2005, specialises in providing lighting solutions to corporate clients ranging from Spanish retailer Inditex, the owner of Zara, to luxury names such as Salvatore Ferragamo and Dior .

Past investments in the sector by Investindustrial, controlled by Italy’s Bonomi family, include facade maker Permasteelisa, famous for the curtain wall of the Sydney opera house, and outdoor lighting company Castaldi.