• GUCCI’S CREDIT FACILITY: Gucci Group NV said it has signed a revolving credit facility for $550.99 million, or 460 million euros at current exchange rates. Citigroup and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc coordinated the facility and Unicredito Italiano is acting as the agent for the facility, which was successfully syndicated among 15 institutional banks. Gucci said that it will use this borrowing ability for “general corporate purposes” and for refinancing the group’s indebtedness. A spokesman specified that there are no plans to use the funds for acquisitions. The facility is structured in two tranches of $275.49 million, or 230 million euros, one for three years and one for 364 days, both using revolving facilities.

  • FASHION COUNCIL REDUX: After a quiet period of several years, the New York Fashion Council is conducting a membership drive. The group has scheduled a networking meeting and pre-Christmas party for Thursday. It is to be held at Victoria Royal, at 148 West 37th Street. The 27-year-old group’s purpose is to promote New York fashion. It also seeks to help coordinate event dates in the industry. Ed Mandelbaum, owner of the Designers & Agents show and one of the council’s organizers, said that after several “passive” years, “now there is a new influx of membership.”

  • LEVI’S DOWNGRADE: Fitch Ratings on Tuesday lowered the debt ratings of Levi Strauss & Co. following the firm’s announcement that its chief financial officer, Bill Chiasson, has left the company and was replaced by an interim cfo, Jim Fogarty of Alvarez & Marsal, with restructuring experience. Fitch said that the changes were a “material event that possibly could lead to a debt restructuring in the near-to-intermediate term.” The ratings agency said that a financial restructuring “could be a detriment to the bondholders.” Levi’s $1.7 billion senior unsecured debt was downgraded to “CCC-plus” from “B-minus” and the $650 million asset-based loan was lowered to “B-plus” from “BB-minus.” The $500 million term loan was also lowered to “B” from “B-plus.” The rating outlook, according to Fitch, “remains negative, reflecting the continued challenges Levi faces to improve its financial condition and in stimulating top-line sales growth.”
  • EPSTEIN OUT AT FILA: Due to personal reasons, Jon Epstein has exited Sport Brands International, Fila’s parent, as president and chief executive, according to a statement released by the company Tuesday. Epstein, who joined Fila USA as president in 1998, lead the brand’s restructuring, orchestrated SBI’s purchase of Fila in June, and oversaw last month’s sale of Enyce LLC. SBI, which has 20 sports-related companies, is scouting for Epstein’s replacement, a spokeswoman said. Robert Galvin, SBI’s cfo and president of European operations, has added chief operating officer for the global business to his title.

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