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La Perla to sponsor LET Italian Open

Leading Italian lingerie manufacturer La Perla has signed a three year contract with the Ladies European Tour (LET) to sponsor the £120,000 Ladies Italian Open and to become the official
'Women's Lingerie and Swimwear' for the Evian Tour.

The Bologna-based fashion house will invest nearly £1 million in women's golf over the next three seasons, while the Ladies Italian Open at Poggio
Dei Medici GC in Tuscany (May 17-20) will now be called the 'La Perla Italian Open'.

La Perla has also agreed to sponsor two of Italy's most promising young female golfers who will help to promote a new range of La Perla golfwear to
be launched in the spring. Details of these endorsements will be announced
next month.

"We see women's golf in Europe as a natural and effective way to reconfirm the high positioning of La Perla's image in the world," said Mr. Alberto
Masotti, Chairman and President of La Perla.

"Italy has a number of very elegant and talented female golfers coming
through, while the women's game in Europe is getting stronger all the time
and building a very positive profile.

"We shall be launching the La Perla golf range in the very near future and
we are delighted to be able to support the women's Tour in Europe, especially the La Perla Italian Open in Tuscany.

"Poggio dei Medici GC has one of the most glorious settings in Europe. The
beautiful, rolling countryside and outstanding Tuscan clubhouse is very much
a part of La Perla's image."

Tim Howland, Chief Executive of the LET, sees the deal as further proof of the changing profile of women's European golf.

"It is no secret that women's golf is gaining in popularity across Europe,but the La Perla deal is tangible evidence that the sport's image has also
changed considerably," said Howland.

"Golf is now attracting stylish young women from areas not traditionally
associated with the sport - countries such as Italy, France and Spain, as well as the more established golfing nations such as the UK and Sweden.

"The Italian Golf Federation has helped to develop a number very talented young girls who are about to make their mark in the professional ranks. This is helping to raise the game's profile and give it a more marketable image.

"Having La Perla as one of the Tour's marketing partners, and the title sponsor of the La Perla Italian Open, will create a very positive association for the LET. It is more great news for the women's game here in Europe."

The deal between the LET and La Perla was brokered by Studio Piscicelli, whose chief executive Maurizio de Vito Piscicelli is responsible for managing all of La Perla's golfing interests.

Last season's Ladies Italian Open was won by the European number one Sophie
Gustafson of Sweden, who went on to win three other tournaments in Europe,
the Evian Order of Merit and play a significant role in Europe's gripping and historic victory over the Americans in The Solheim Cup.

The 2001 La Perla Italian Open will be the third consecutive year the tournament has been staged at Poggio Dei Medici GC, which lies equidistant between Florence and Bologna. In 2002 the prize money will be increased to £135,000 and in 2003 to £150,000.

"We are delighted that La Perla has recognised the potential of women's golf
in Italy and the Ladies Italian Open at Poggio Dei Medici," said John Pertersen, the event promoter for Poggio Dei Medici.

"Women's professional golf has a great future in Italy, and in Europe as a whole, and we are thrilled that our efforts to re-launch the Italian Open back in 1999 have attracted the support of such a prestigious company as La Perla.

"Poggio Dei Medici will continue to host the event for the next three years and with La Perla's involvement the tournament will continue to go from strength to strength."

Last season, Italy's Giulia Sergas finished as the leading rookie on the Evian Tour, while her compatriots Isabella Maconi, Silvia Cavalleri and Sophie Sandolo also enjoyed some success.

La Perla was founded by Ada Masotti in Bologna in 1954, and now boasts
boutiques in all the major cities across the world, including Rome, Milan, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Sao Paolo, London, Paris, Madrid, Moscow, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney.

As well as leading the market in women's lingerie, the La Perla Group also
produces beachwear, nightwear, men's and children's wear, and recently released new range of scents and eyewear.

During Fashion Week in Milan over the past few seasons, La Perla has also
introduced a number of refined prét-à-porter collections that have achieved increasing international success in the most prestigious boutiques in Italy and across the world.

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