MILAN — Benetton Group SpA said Wednesday it would propose to buy back up to 10 percent of its share capital at its annual meeting next month.
Benetton said the proposed buyback of up to 18 million ordinary shares would run for a period of 18 months; enable the purchase of a portfolio of treasury shares, "considering this to be a strategic investment capable of producing added value for shareholders," and serve any share incentive schemes. Benetton said it does not currently hold any treasury shares.
The company also said its board approved the 2007 financial statements, which were released last month, showing a 16.3 percent increase in earnings to 145 million euros, or $198.8 million at average exchange, on sales of 2.09 billion euros, or $2.86 billion.
Last month, Benetton said it expected sales growth to slow to between 6 and 8 percent on a like-for-like basis this year. Net profits and EBITDA are forecast to grow over 7 percent.
Benetton lost more than a third of its value on the Milan Stock Exchange in January on fears that slowing economic growth and consumer spending could undermine middle market retailers this year. The Benetton family has since added to its controlling stake, buying shares worth 5.5 million euros, or $8.7 million at current exchange, through an investment vehicle, which holds nearly 70 percent of the company.
Benetton's stock closed down 1.6 percent to 8.48 euros, or $13.37, at the end of trading in Milan on Wednesday. The share price is down 28.5 percent this year.
In addition to the buyback proposal, Benetton plans to ask shareholders to approve an increase in its dividend of 8 percent. The Italian clothing retailer said in a statement it would submit the dividend of 0.40 euros, or 63 cents at current exchange, a share — equivalent to 73 million euros, or $115.1 million — for shareholder approval on April 24 and 28. It returned a dividend of 0.37 euros, or 51 cents at average exchange, a share for 2006.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty