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Kasper Reverses Loss

NEW YORK — Bankrupt Kasper ASL Ltd. on Tuesday said that the company posted a first-quarter profit compared with a year-ago loss in the same period.<br><br>Income was $8 million, or $1.18 a diluted share, for the three months ended March 29,...

NEW YORK — Bankrupt Kasper ASL Ltd. on Tuesday said that the company posted a first-quarter profit compared with a year-ago loss in the same period.

Income was $8 million, or $1.18 a diluted share, for the three months ended March 29, versus a loss of $24.7 million, or $3.64, last year. The 2002 quarter was restated for a $30.4 million charge for a cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle. Before the charge, net income was $5.7 million, or 83 cents a share. Reorganization costs narrowed in the latest quarter to $1.1 million from $1.6 million last year.

Total revenues in the quarter declined by 10.6 percent to $104.9 million from $117.3 million. Included in the tally was an 11.6 percent drop in sales to $100.5 million from $113.6 million and an 18.4 jump in royalty income to $4.4 million from $3.7 million.

John Idol, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement: “Gross margins have increased to 40.4 percent of total revenue compared with 34.5 percent in the prior year’s first quarter.”

The company’s balance sheet at the end of the quarter included $6.3 million in cash, and no borrowings under its debtor-in-possession financing agreement.

Idol also said that the company’s management team was focused on “emerging from [bankruptcy] reorganization as a balanced and profitable multibrand women’s apparel and accessories company.”

In December, a special committee of the company’s board hired Peter J. Solomon Co. to help in its consideration of strategic alternatives, including the possibility of the sale of the firm. Idol has made an offer to buy the company and market sources have listed Kellwood Co. among the firms interested in Kasper’s operations and the Anne Klein trademarks it holds.