CHINESE WHISPERS: The parent company of Italian fashion group IT Holding SpA has confirmed it is in negotiations with a firm represented by Chinese businessman Billy Ngok – and not Ngok’s Hong Kong-based supply chain and retailing group Hembly International Holdings Limited or any of its subsidiary companies.

“Negotiations regard the possibility that a minority shareholding be purchased in the company that directly controls IT Holding Sp.A. [PA Investments SA] and the possibility of IT Holding S.p.A. stipulating commercial and production partnership agreements with reference to the Asian market,” IT Holding and PA parent company GTP Holding SpA said in a statement.

As reported, IT Holding chairman and chief executive officer Tonino Perna, who controls 61 percent of IT Holding via PA (and a further 1 percent via GTP), is seeking to reduce PA’s 140 million-euro ($196 million) debt by bringing in a partner and open up the Asian market, according to sources.