ASCCHEIM, Germany — As part of Escada Group’s planned divestiture of noncore businesses, Laurèl has been spun off as an independent firm, backdated to Nov. 1, 2001. Headquartered here, Laurèl GmbH has been furnished with an equity capital of $7.1 million. As of July 1, assets were placed at about $21.6 million and Laurèl’s turnover in the fiscal year ending on Oct. 31, 2002, is expected to reach $60.8 million. All dollar figures are converted from euros at current exchange rates.

In a statement, Georg Kellinghusen, Escada chief financial officer, pointed out that Laurèl’s independent legal status will help Escada find the "right investor to build [Laurèl’s] growth potential. With help of our partner Morgan Stanley, we’ll now enter into concrete discussions with interested parties." However, he stressed that Escada would not be rushed in its search for a buyer for Laurèl. "We will take the time necessary to reach an optimal result for both Laurèl and Escada."

Sources say a sale is not likely this year, but the company said it hopes to have divested its noncore businesses by the end of 2003. Besides Laurèl, these include Kemper and Primera. In March, Escada Beauté was sold to the Wella Group.

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