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.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews