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Even the best-laid business plan can be complicated by a company's bad baggage, and Borsalino came with plenty of that.The 162-year-old hat maker, arguably Italy's oldest fashion brand, was founded in the northwestern Italian city of Alessandria by Giuseppe Borsalino, whose family sold control decades ago. By the time the Swiss-Italian private equity firm Haeres Equita was approached about investing in 2015, the company had been mismanaged and bled dry by the previous owner.The company was making 12 million euros ($13.5 million) in revenues, with profits of between 600,000 euros and 800,000 euros.Haeres Equity, which also owns the Fogal brand of Swiss hosiery, is looking for other investments in Italian fashion, if possible another "sleeping beauty like Borsalino," Camperio said.The goal is to increase annual production from 150,000 hats to 500,000 in five years -- still far from the 2 million Borsalino churned out every year during its postwar heyday, when men regularly wore hats.
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