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Glassmaker Baccarat enters receivership as ownership battle rages

PARIS (Reuters) - French fine crystal glassmaker Baccarat CDBP.PA said it had entered receivership, after the purveyor of chandeliers and tableware to royalty for more than two centuries was caught up a battle between its Chinese owners and their lenders.

The company said in a statement on Tuesday that receivers, appointed by a French court to manage the business, would carry out an independent assessment of its financial situation and try and take stock of conflicting shareholder and creditor demands.

Baccarat, which was founded in 1764 and takes its name from the French town where it still has a factory, was one of several European luxury manufacturers to catch the eye of Chinese investors in recent years.

Fortune Fountain Capital, which describes itself as a family office set up between Hong Kong and mainland China, bought the company in 2017 for 164 million euros (148.59 million pounds) hoping to capitalise on surging demand from Chinese consumers for luxury goods, while promising to invest in the firm.

But Fortune has since fallen out with its lenders, which include Asia-focused Tor Investment Management, legal documents seen by Reuters show. That has sparked a fight over the company’s strategy and management.

The creditors have called for several Baccarat board members to be replaced, the glassware firm said, adding that a shareholder meeting which had been postponed to Sept. 17 has been put off again.

Reporting by Sarah White in PARIS and Scott Murdoch in HONG KONG; Editing by Alexander Smith

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