Italian furniture design company B&B Italia plans to built out its international sales base after agreeing to sell a majority stake to a European investment firm.

Investindustrial has agreed to acquire the Northern Italian manufacturer in a deal expected to complete in the third quarter of this year. Terms have not been disclosed.

Its investment is part of a larger play to build a hub of influential design companies; having already acquired a controlling stake in compatriot lighting design company Flos last year.

B&B, based at Novedrate in the province of Como, employs nearly 500 people and generated sales of around €160m last year, the bulk of which was sent to export markets. Owner and CEO Giorgio Busnelli of the founding family will remain in post and retain a circa 20 per cent stake in the business following the takeover.

Investindustrial’s senior partner Andrea Bonomi said: “Giorgio Busnelli and his team have demonstrated that they have a very clear vision of the market and sector in which the company operates. Investindustrial will support this vision and make available the resources necessary to allow B&B Italia to continue to grow internationally, where the company’s excellent design capabilities, product quality and creativity are already well known.”