Michelle Mone takes full control of diet business

LINGERIE tycoon Michelle Mone and an unnamed business partner have taken full control of the diet business she founded with a medicine entrepreneur.

Michelle Mone says she 'plans to invest in a robust marketing campaign' for TrimSecrets early next year. Picture: PA
Michelle Mone says she 'plans to invest in a robust marketing campaign' for TrimSecrets early next year. Picture: PA

The business was set up in 2006 as a joint venture bet­ween Mone and her ex-husband Michael and healthcare supplements retailer Jan de Vries.

Mone, best-known for her Ultimo bras, had credited De Vries with helping her lose six stone and set up the business to market a diet plan based around a supplement he developed. Now De Vries has stood down as a director and Mone and a “silent” business partner have taken full control of the company, with the lingerie entrepreneur owning 60 per cent of the shares.

It is thought the deal was prompted by the sale of a majority share in MJM International earlier this year to Sri Lanka-based swimwear and lingerie manufacturer MAS Holdings, which is solely focused on “intimate apparel”.

Mone’s stake in the company had been held within MJM and she told Scotland on Sunday it had been a “strategic decision on my part” to take TrimSecrets out of the lingerie business.

“In terms of the future direction of TrimSecrets, I am excited about developing new products and growing the range, and I have plans to invest in a robust marketing campaign early next year.

“After losing over six stone with TrimSecrets, it’s a product that I am passionate about and see real potential within the health & fitness market.”

It is understood de Vries will stay on as a consultant with the company while recruitment of a new team takes place. Troon-based de Vries, 76, told Scotland on Sunday that the sale of his stake and resignation as a director last month was part of a wider move to pull back from his business interests.

“It is all very amicable and is just something I have decided to do because of my age. I have been very happy to been involved in TrimSecrets, have a good relationship with Michelle and we will still buy the products for our shops.”

His son-in-law is now in day-to-day charge of his main business, which operates clinics in Ayr, Edinburgh and Glasgow. .

East Kilbride-based MJM International recorded pre-tax losses of £547,018 in the 18 months to 31 October, 2012. Turnover fell to £7.4m for the 18-month period, compared with £8.4m for the previous 12 months.

The directors’ report said MJM would continue to incur losses in the 12 months subsequent to its 31 October period end, but said it expected it to return to profitability with the support of MAS and changes to its strategy.

MAS took a stake of 51 per cent of MJM International during a deal completed in February with Mone holding the remainder of the business.

MJM, founded in 1996, supplies lingerie to retailers including Asos, Debenhams, Littlewoods and Next, along with a number of independent stores throughout Europe. It has also launched into the beauty market.

MAS designs and manufactures underwear and sportswear across 28 factories and design studios and employs more than 60,000 people.