Fila Holding SpA (NYSE:FLH) announced today that it has acquired the 40 per cent equity stake in Fila UK Limited (Fila UK) from Blacks Leisure Group for £12 million. Fila UK is now a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Fila UK, which had a £60 million turnover in 1999, is the subsidiary which, within the group, recorded the highest growth rate during the previous years (over 30 per cent compounded annual growth rate in the past four years) and an average operating profit above 15 per cent. The acquisition represents a further strengthening of Fila's position and future growth in the UK as well as the possibility to add the UK market to the group's supply chain global structure allowing for additional synergies.

Michele Scannavini, chief executive officer of Fila, said: "This transaction opens new business opportunities for Fila in the most important European market for our sector, where Fila already holds a 5 per cent market share - although its potential has not been fully expressed yet. The group's re-launch, after the `restructuring phase' is now focused on the `investment phase' of which this acquisition represents the first expressive step."

Fila Holding SpA, headquartered in Biella (Italy), is a designer and marketer of footwear and apparel for sport and leisure. Fila has created strong brand recognition by marketing products with a high design and style content and by securing professional athletic endorsements.