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Chinese to buy France's historic Baccarat glassmaker

A glassblower checking the quality of a piece at the Baccarat works in Nancy AFP

A Chinese investment fund is to buy 90 percent of the capital of Baccarat, the French crystal glassware manufacturer founded by King Louis XV in 1764.

Fortune Fountain Capital (FFC) has promised to maintain production at the company's glassworks in eastern France and plans to expand the business.

It is to buy the 90 percent share of the company currently held by US companies Starwoood Capital Group and L Catterton and intends to bid for the rest.

With Baccarat making a 2.2-million-euro profit in 2016, all the luxury crystal glassware lines currently produced will be maintained, as will the current management, and the jobs of all the roughly 500 employees are safe, FFC says.

Its president, Coco Chu, promises to invest 20-30 million euros in the short term and up to 50 million euros in the mid-term in plans to expand the business into developing markets in the US and Asia, opening new sales outlets and investing in other luxury businesses, notably hotels.

Chinese investors are increasingly looking abroad, several buying up French vineyards recently.