Italy's Luxottica sunglasses king gifts staff millions in birthday bonanza

Luxottica founder Leonardo del Vecchio. -- PHOTO: LUXOTTICA
Luxottica founder Leonardo del Vecchio. -- PHOTO: LUXOTTICA

ROME (AFP) - The founder of Italian eyewear giant Luxottica is celebrating his 80th birthday by giving the firm's 8,000 employees in Italy shares worth around nine million euros (S$13.39 million).

Leonardo del Vecchio, Italy's second richest man thanks to an eyewear brand sported by star designers including Chanel and Giorgio Armani, is gifting his staff 140,000 Luxottica Group treasury shares, the company said on Tuesday.

"A sincere thank you to the Group's employees in Italy, those at the heart of Luxottica's success," Del Vecchio said in a statement.

"With this small gesture, I would like to show how important the employees are to me. I truly feel as if we are a family," he said.

Luxottica, owner of the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands, reported a record profit for 2014 and began 2015 in style, boasting an increase in its first-quarter profit of nearly 34 per cent thanks to strong growth sales in North America.

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