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Fin.part Achieves Small Profit in Qtr.

Cerruti parent Fin.part, which is seeking to recapitalize after auditors nixed its balance sheet, managed to swing into the black for the first quarter.

MILAN — Cerruti parent Fin.part, which is seeking to recapitalize after auditors rejected its balance sheet, managed to swing into the black for the first quarter of the year.

Net profit for the three months ended March 31 came to $736,765 compared with a loss a year earlier of $4.11 million.

Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange.

Sales rose 1.7 percent to $150.7 million from $148.2 million, but the company said they gained 7.1 percent stripping out results from the Boggi store chain, which Fin.part sold in February. The firm said sales in April rose 29.7 percent to $33.1 million from $25.5 million.

As reported, auditor KPMG last month declined to certify Fin.part’s 2002 accounts, voicing concerns over its large debt and its ability to carry through with its industrial plan. Just days later, Gianluigi Facchini stepped down as chairman of the company he founded and the group replaced him with a well-known businessman, Ubaldo Livolsi.

Little detail on the group’s future emerged from the annual meeting Thursday. Shareholders approved the company’s 2002 accounts showing a net loss of $73.8 million and gave the green light to a new, enlarged board of 11 members including Facchini, Livolsi and chief executive Silvano Storer.

Facchini founded Fin.part in 1996 and embarked on an acquisitions spree that ultimately took on brands including Cerruti, Frette, Maska and footwear firm Andrea Pfister.

But his plans to emulate multibrand groups like LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada disintegrated as he set about creating his empire just as industry consolidation and company selling prices peaked, amassing a large debt load.

The company said net debt stood at $467.2 million at the end of the first quarter. That figure is nearly comparable to the company’s full-year 2002 volume of $526.6 million.

Despite shopping around various parts of the business, including Frette and its sportswear assets, Fin.part has only managed a few small sales including brands Moncler and Best Co., which barely dented the group’s debt.

This story first appeared in the May 16, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.