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Flos buys New York-based Lukas Lighting in US contract sector push

by Giovanna Mancini

Brescia-based Flos, one of the world's most famous brands in design and architectural lighting, has acquired New York firm Lukas Lighting, which specializes in custom projects, as it moves to expand its contract business in North America, said Flos CEO Piero Gandini.

The deal affirms Flos' international development strategy based both on internal growth and on acquisitions to expand the range of products and services offered. The strategy is longstanding, but was given another nudge forward by an investment in the company by private equity Investindustrial, which acquired 80% of Flos' capital in September 2014.

The lighting segment suffered less than the furniture sector at large the impact of the economic crisis, mostly because on average 60% of sales are generated abroad, a percentage that for large, design-driven companies such as Flos is even higher.

“The acquisition of Lukas Lighting shows that Flos, thanks to its partnership with Investindustrial, is on a fast track to growth,” said Andrea Bonomi, the fund's senior industrial partner. In March, Flos bought the Brianza-based group Ares, specialized in outdoor lighting, a deal which followed acquisitions of two other companies, Antares of Spain (architectural and project lighting) and Brescia's Light Contract (custom products).

The new deal (financial terms weren't revealed) is aimed at further reinforce Flos' presence in the US market, which already accounts for 13% of the group's total revenue but still holds huge potential for growth, says Gandini, especially in the architectectural and project sector aimed at corporate clients.

Its 30 years of experience in the sector makes Lukas Lighting the right partner, Gandini added, to integrate Flos USA and grow a North American business modeled after Flos' consolidated European operations, where it offers a range of collections, from decorative design to technical design to professional and made-to-order systems.

The technical sector makes up about 100 million of revenue which is expected to surpass 190 million in 2015, with EBITDA of 25%.