Italian jeweller Morellato buys French chain Cleor

MILAN, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Italian jewellery and watch group Morellato has bought French jewellery retail chain Cleor with an investment of almost 50 million euros ($55 million), the company said on Friday, in the latest deal in the sector.

The acquisition marks a further expansion by Morellato in the French market and bucks the recent trend of Italian luxury brands falling into French hands.

French luxury giant LVMH bought storied Rome jeweller Bulgari in 2011 and rival Kering acquired Pomellato in 2013.

Morellato, a Venice brand born in 1930 as a maker of watch straps, has grown into a leading watch and jewellery producer thanks to a string of acquisitions. The latest one dates back to January when it bought French watch wholesaler Mister Watch.

Cleor has 140 shops located in the main shopping centres in France and expects 80 million euros in sales this year.

The deal is expected to boost Morellato’s revenues to more than 270 million in 2019, rising to around 300 million next year with 60% reaped abroad, Chairman Massimo Carraro, who took control of the company with his brother almost 30 years ago, said in a statement.

$1 = 0.9074 euros Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle