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Rosanna Armani Cuts Back Sharply on Simint Holding

MILAN -- Rosanna Armani has sharply reduced her majority stake in Finar SrL, a financial holding company that controls 16.8 percent of Simint SpA, following a capital increase in the holding company that ushered in two new shareholders.<BR><BR>Armani...

MILAN — Rosanna Armani has sharply reduced her majority stake in Finar SrL, a financial holding company that controls 16.8 percent of Simint SpA, following a capital increase in the holding company that ushered in two new shareholders.

Armani — the sister of Giorgio Armani — cut her stake from 90 percent to 9 percent after the company increased its capital to $6.3 million (10 billion lire) from $632,000 (1 billion lire), according to Finar.

The capital increase was taken up in equal parts by Ong Beng Seng, a Singapore businessman who already holds 5 percent of Simint SpA and 10 percent of Simint U.S.A., and a Gibraltar-based investment company called Toland Limited controlled by U.K. financier Glen Conway. Now, Ong and Toland each control 45 percent of Finar. They each paid $2.8 million (4.5 billion lire) for their stakes.

The remaining 1 percent is held by Silvana Armani, a niece of Rosanna and Giorgio Armani.

Seng also distributes the Armani jeans line in the U.K., while Toland is purely a financial investor, according to an Armani spokeswoman. Simint SpA produces the Armani jeans line.

A Finar spokeswoman said that Rosanna Armani — who, as reported, acquired the 16.8 percent stake in Simint this year — did so to assist her brother in the buyout of the 22 percent stake in Simint held by its former chairman Francesco Micheli, but she hadn’t intended to keep the stake for the long term.

Meanwhile, rumors continue to circulate as to potential buyers for Simint U.S.A, which Simint has said it wants to sell. As noted, Simint said last week it was close to a deal to sell the U.S. operation that runs the A/X Armani Exchange but has not disclosed the possible buyer.

Speculation here has raised the names of Leonardo Del Vecchio, chairman of Italian eyewear manufacturer Luxottica SpA, which also produces eyewear for Armani, and Pietro Marzotto, chairman of the Valdagno-based textile and apparel group, Marzotto SpA.

A Marzotto spokesman denied that a Simint acquisition was being considered. Luxottica officials weren’t available for comment.

Simint officials could not be reached, and an Armani spokeswoman said she could not comment on anything dealing with the proposed sale of Simint U.S.A.

Finally, trading in Simint shares on the Milan stock market remains suspended as the regulatory agency Consob awaits further clarification of Simint’s finances and studies whether the Armani buyout of the Micheli shares might trigger a tender offer by the Armanis. Trading was suspended Friday.