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Bono and Ali suffer mounting losses at ethical clothing firm

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Bono and Ali Hewson set up Edun in 2005

Bono and Ali Hewson set up Edun in 2005

Bono and Ali Hewson set up Edun in 2005

LOSSES continue to mount at the ethical clothing company founded by Bono and his wife Ali Hewson.

The couple's Edun Apparel clothing company recorded a loss of $7.9m (€5.9m) last year. That was slightly less than the $8.5m (€6.3) loss in 2011 but still brought total losses so far to $54.5m (€40m).

The Hewsons established the fashion brand in 2005 to create a new force in contemporary fashion and encourage fair trade with Africa.

Despite the losses, Bono and Ali Hewson say in the latest company accounts that they "are very satisfied with progress during the year, which was in line with the (five-year) strategic business plan projections".

The results add that "the company is currently in investment phase and has made much progress in building its supply chain, brand, marketing materials and retail partnerships, as well as the implementation of its mission".

In a press interview earlier this year, Ali said they had not expected things to be so difficult. "It has been tough, and I think it's fair to say that we were a little naive about the challenges at the start. We're not making money yet, but we've survived a recession. We're still in the game and growing. It's a long-term commitment."

LUXURY

Bono, Ali and luxury goods group LVMH propped up Edun with an additional $17.8m (€13.3m) in loans in 2012.

They have now loaned the company €54m (€40m) but said in the accounts that they would not seek repayment anytime soon.

LVMH – which owns brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moet Chandon and designer brand Donna Karan – bought a 49pc stake in Edun four years ago.

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The French company provides support, investment and infrastructure to help the business grow into a global fashion brand.

Bono and Ali have featured in Louis Vuitton's advertising campaigns with the two wearing Edun brand clothing in Africa.

Edun has contracts with 8,500 farmers in northern Uganda supplying cotton and aims to have 10,000 next season.

Bono has generally proved a shrewd investor, with investments in Facebook and former smartphone maker Palm.


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