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Minister asks Fair Work to investigate Calombaris underpayments; Sussan rumoured to be for sale; Seafolly and Maaji merged: The Round-up

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George Calombaris

Source: AAP Image/Adrian Buman

By Emma Koehn and Eloise Keating

All eyes have been on celebrity chef George Calombaris over the past 24 hours, after his MAdE Establishment revealed it would pay back $2.6 million in wage entitlements owed to workers, but the Victorian Government wants more scrutiny on the company’s actions.

The state’s minister for industrial relations Natalie Hutchins took to Facebook yesterday, saying she had approached the Fair Work Ombudsman with requests to investigate the underpayments further.

“We need strong advocacy and leadership from Governments to ensure rogue employers follow the law and workers are empowered to know their rights,” she said.

SmartCompany contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman on Tuesday for an update on its dealings with MadE Establishment, but the office was unable to comment as to whether any current operations were underway.

Is Sussan for sale? 

The Sussan retail chain could be in for a change in ownership, if reports of a potential sale are accurate.

The Australian reports owner Naomi Milgrom is eying off a potential sale of the Sussan group, which also owns the Sportsgirl and Suzanna Grae businesses.

The company has not commented on the report, but analysts have told The Australian the timing of a sale “made sense” as Milgrom continues to pursue her arts and philanthropic interests.

Sussan was first established as a lingerie store in Melbourne by the Gandel family in the 1930s. The chain has more than 550 stores in Australia and New Zealand and has estimated annual revenue of approximately $490 million.

Seafolly and Maaji to create super beach brand

Seafolly’s parent company has announced the Australian-founded beach brand will become part of a “global swimwear and beach lifestyle platform” after it acquired Columbian swimwear company Maaji.

Private equity firm L Catterton Asia, which is backed by luxury brand conglomerate LVMH, purchased Seafolly in 2014. On Tuesday, L Catterton Asia announced it would combine the brand its new acquisition, Maaji, to create what it says will be the largest swimwear brand in the world, covering off both the Australian and Latin American markets.

“This merger will create a unique and powerful offering on the global landscape,” Seafolly vice-chairman Andrew Halas said in a statement.

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