MILAN — The Benetton family’s holding company Edizione Srl has cashed in on its investment in its fashion assets.
“These were pure financial investments,” said the source, declining to provide the amount of the capital gain, defining it as “modest.”
As per Edizione’s balance sheet, at the end of December 2015 the group channeled 106 million euros, or $117.6 million, into the new investments, spending 72 million euros, or $79.9 million, for 0.21 percent in Hermès, and 34 million euros, or $37.7 million, for a 0.13 percent stake in L Brands.
These investments boosted the family group’s holdings in those two companies and the balance sheet implied they were made in 2015.
No media hype has been associated with the transaction. Conversely, in 2014 Hermès and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton signed a truce agreement that ended a four-year exchange of barbs and lawsuits over the latter’s creeping stake in the maker of Birkin bags and silk scarves.
The source said the investments were made in light of Edizione’s strong liquidity — 1.6 billion euros, or $1.77 billion. This derives from the holding company’s sale in 2015 of its 50.1 percent stake in the airport mega retailer World Duty Free SpA to Switzerland’s Dufry AG for 1.3 billion euros, or $1.4 billion.
Edizione has also sold stakes in Club Méditerranée and Pirelli, with a capital gain of 43.6 million euros, or $48.4 million.
Hermès and L Brands aren’t the first fashion labels to catch the Benetton family’s eye. In April 2012, Benetton Group took a 2 percent stake in Brunello Cucinelli SpA when the Italian luxury company went public. Then-chairman Alessandro Benetton characterized the share purchase, which totaled 10 million euros, or $13.1 million, as “a sign of dialogue and exchange,” with another company. Benetton sold its Cucinelli stake for a capital gain of 19 million euros, or $25.2 million, in 2014.
Alessandro Benetton last year exited the board of the family-owned company, as reported, after relinquishing his role as chairman in 2014. Later this month, Edizione’s board is expected to confirm Fabio Cerchiai as chairman of the holding company, succeeding Gilberto Benetton, who will be named vice chairman. Marco Patuano will take on the role of chief executive officer.
Revenues of Edizione’s textile and apparel division in 2015 totaled 1.6 billion euros, or $1.7 billion, and represented 13.9 percent of the total.
Dollar figures were converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
Edizione’s investments range from highway catering and communications to real estate and agriculture. In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2015, the holding company reported revenues of 11.44 billion euros, or $12.7 billion, up 5 percent compared with 10.9 billion euros, or $12 billion, the year before, lifted by the highway and airport catering and infrastructures sectors.
As reported in May, Benetton’s revenues totaled 1.53 billion euros, or $1.7 billion, down 1.2 percent compared with the previous year. Last year was the first time Edizione reported figures for its commercial activities alone, which had been separated from its industrial and real estate activities at the end of 2014.