MILAN — IT Holding SpA might have found a solution to its beleaguered financial situation, although the outcome remains uncertain.
This story first appeared in the February 4, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Following a lengthy board meeting, the Italian fashion group said Tuesday it would verify the viability of a proposal from a foreign fund — thought to be London-based Kingsbridge Capital Ltd. — which envisages a capital increase and the repurchase of a bond.
“In light of this proposal,” IT Holding stated, “the board of directors instructed the chief executive officer [Pierantonio Nebuloni] to:
• Verify and, if required, renegotiate certain elements of the proposal.
• Verify with the financing institutions their willingness to grant the support necessary for the company to continue its activity for the time required to implement the proposed plan.
• Verify the willingness of the licensors to reconsider the actions already put in place following notice of payment in arrears and possibly to consider a temporary change to the terms contained in the license agreements.
• Verify on the basis of the plan prepared with the assistance of the company’s financial adviser, updated following the latest developments in the company’s situation, the effective ability of the plan and the proposed financial support to guarantee the rebalancing of the financial situation of the company and its going concern.”
The company added that its board would reconvene shortly to take “the necessary resolutions.”
Kingsbridge is part of Austrian investment company the Hardt Group.
IT Holding, which owns the Gianfranco Ferré, Malo and Extè brands, and also operates under license the VJC Versace, Just Cavalli, Versace Sport, C’N’C Costume National and Galliano labels, is weighed down by net debts, which, as of Sept. 30, totaled 295.4 million euros, or $378.5 million, including a 185 million euro, or $236.3 million, bond, which expires in 2012. Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
On Monday, the company said it was still in talks with Chinese businessman Billy Ngok’s Mensun Ltd., but no longer on an exclusive basis, and that “contacts with other investors” had started. (Mensun’s exclusive terms expired Dec. 31.)
IT Holding met with financial institutions last week and asked for effective and full use of the credit facilities formally available at least in the short term.
IT Holding chairman Tonino Perna controls 60.6 percent of IT Holding via PA Investments and a further 1 percent via GTP Holding SpA, a separate holding for PA. PA has debts of around 140 million euros, or $179.4 million.