Franco Uzzeni, the owner of U-Power, an Italian-based supplier of work and safety shoes, clothing and accessories, has taken over the leading French producer of safety shoes, Jallatte, and its manufacturing operations in France. Uzzeni, who knows Jallatte well because he ran it between 2000 and 2005, is also in advanced negotiations for the acquisition of some of the assets of JAL's big shoe factory in Tunisia.

Technically, U-Power has acquired all the assets of JAL Group France, which was also taking care of the group's sales in France and other key markets, from a holding company in Luxembourg, as well as all the other brands owned by JAL Group, including Aimont and Lupos, but their future fate and the financial conditions for the acquisition could not be learned at the time of going to press.

JAL's Tunisian factory, which employed some 3.000 people at its peak, has an installed injection capacity of several million pairs per year. Like JAL, U-Power also produces footwear at a Tunisian factory of its own, not far from that of JAL.

As for Jallatte, which has gone through numerous reorganization programs over the past years, its French factory will continue to inject about 500,000 pairs of high-end footwear annually under the highly regarded Jallatte brand name.