Bulgari to help fund Italian brands

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ROME--Luxury jeweler Bulgari plans to set up what it claims will be the first international closed fund to invest in promising companies that produce high-quality Italian food, wine and fashion. The fund, called "Made In Italy," will be based in Luxembourg.

All the attention paid to Internet companies has drawn capital away from more traditional companies, the company said.

"Our country is full of interesting small and medium companies that are suffering from a lack of capital," said Bulgari CEO Francesco Trapani.

The fund, which aims to invest $143 million by the end of the year, also includes capital from Morgan Grenfell Private Equity and several private investors.

Bulgari is the largest single investor, contributing around $24 million of the total.

Mr. Trapani would not discuss the fund's advertising plans, but an official associated with the initiative said small advertising companies could be eligible for seed money if they demonstrated they were breaking new ground creatively.

Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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