MILAN — After less than two years, Gianfranco Ferré SpA and Ittierre SpA are out of government-backed bankruptcy protection and have secured new owners.
With the approval on Wednesday from Italy’s recently nominated minister of economic development, Paolo Romani, the three state-appointed commissioners of IT Holding SpA have accepted offers by Prodos Capital Management LLC to acquire the Ferré fashion house and by Albisetti SpA to take control of clothing manufacturer Ittierre SpA. This confirms reports in WWD last September.
Douglas Song, chairman of merchant banking firm Prodos, took in the label’s show for the first time in September. Prodos has joined forces in the deal with Salmar Shipping Ltd., a Greek company owned by the Salonitis ship-owning family. The closing of the contract is conditional on an agreement between Prodos and Samsung, which the board will formally consider in the next few days.
Andrea Ciccoli and Roberto Spada, two of the three state-appointed administrators along with Stanislao Chimenti, expressed satisfaction at the outcome and underscored how the industrial plans presented by Prodos and Albisetti were vital for the deals. “Albisetti guarantees continuity, investments and employment,” said Ciccoli, adding the minister’s approval is perfectly timed. “We’ve just closed sales for the spring/summer 2011 season and have not begun with fall/winter 2011 yet,” he said.
Spada said he was pleased that Ittierre remains “made in Italy, in the hands of a traditional Italian company, ready to invest in a firm based in the south of the country.” The administrator also noted that Albisetti’s owner and chief executive officer, Antonio Bianchi, plans to bring in new licenses. “Ittierre has a prosperous future ahead and there are enormous synergies between the two companies,” he said.
In reference to Ferré, Spada said the sale will allow the brand to grow internationally, with a “strong leap in Southeast Asia, where everyone is going.”
Ciccoli noted the agreements will help keep 1,000 people employed. Although the administrators did not provide specific figures for the sales, sources say Albisetti paid 40 million euros, or $55.5 million at current exchange, for Ittierre, and Prodos between 10 and 15 million euros, or $13.8 million and $20.8 million, for Ferré. The commissioners are expected to oversee procedures for another two years.
Albisetti, which is based in Vertemate, outside Como, Italy, was founded in 1977 and produces and distributes innerwear, beachwear and accessories collections for brands ranging from Alexander McQueen and Chloé to John Galliano, Roberto Cavalli and Just Cavalli and Vivienne Westwood. With 150 employees and a 108,000-square-foot production plant, Albisetti forecasts sales of 60 million euros, or $83.3 million at current exchange, in 2010. Department store operator Borletti Group was also in the running for Ittierre.