By  on April 2, 2009

MILAN — Mariella Burani Fashion Group SpA is confident of its medium- to long-term prospects despite falling into the red in 2008.

The group, whose holdings include Mandarina Duck and which has licenses with La Perla (ready-to-wear), John Galliano (jewelry) and Aquascutum (footwear), among others, said Wednesday revenues grew 2 percent in the first two months of this year and sales of its fall collections were encouraging.

“We expect to continue to create value for our shareholders, at both an operating and strategic level,” MBFG chief executive officer Giovanni Burani stated.

The group reported net losses of 55.2 million euros, or $81.2 million, in 2008, compared to net profits of 16.8 million euros, or $23 million, in 2007. It will not issue a dividend.

Dollar figures were converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

Revenues for the 12 months through Dec. 31 gained 3.9 percent to 700 million euros, or $1.03 billion, aided by the sale of 49 percent of bag division AP Bags SpA to private equity firm 3i, and the acquisitions of Mandarina Duck parent Finduck Srl in July and accessories company Dadorosa Srl in 2007. Organic sales rose 5.8 percent.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased 5.3 percent to 87.8 million euros, or $129.2 million. As of Dec. 31, the group’s net financial position totaled 238.5 million euros, or $316.7 million, representing a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.81.

MBFG added that it and leather goods unit Antichi Pellettieri SpA had appointed financial advisers for their proposed merger.

After producing its rtw line in-house for more than 10 years, MBFG licensed the rights to produce and distribute the collection to Bologna-based La Perla in December. A new creative director is expected to be announced soon to succeed Alessandro Dell’Acqua, whose contract expired with the spring season.

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