United Colors of Benetton fall 2019 ad campaign.

MILAN — Benetton parent company Edizione Srl reported on Tuesday a 70 percent decrease in 2019 net profit, which fell to 55 million euros from 184 million euros in 2018.

The company attributed the drop to increased financial charges connected to the acquisition of the Spanish toll road management Abertis and to a decrease in dividends distributed by companies that Edizione controls, in particular Atlantia, active in the infrastructure sector, including motorways, airport infrastructure and transport services.

The Benettons’ family holding company Edizione controls diversified investments including also food and beverage and real estate. 

In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, revenues rose 36 percent to 17.9 billion euros, boosted by the consolidation of Abertis, which closed 2018 with sales of 13.1 billion euros.

Edizione’s clothing and textile division represented 6.8 percent of total sales, ringing in at 1.23 billion euros.

Infrastructures accounted for 62.6 percent of the total with sales of 11.2 billion euros. Food services represented 30.1 percent of the total with sales of 5.4 billion euros. 

In 2018, Luciano Benetton returned to the family fashion company as executive president after years of declining sales and in  October that year tapped the group’s first artistic director, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who presented his first collection and runway show for United Colors of Benetton in Milan in February 2019.

On Aug. 14 2018, a section of the city’s Morandi bridge collapsed, leading to 43 deaths, hundreds of evacuees and much structural damage. Opened in 1967 and part of the A10 highway linking the French and Italian rivieras, the bridge was maintained and operated by Autostrade Per l’Italia. This is the prime Italian highway player and is controlled by infrastructure company Atlantia.

In 2019, Edizione’s operating profit totaled 1.9 billion euros, down 4 percent compared with 2018, impacted by the provision of 1.5 billion euros made by Autostrade per l’Italia linked to the alleged non-compliance dispute following the tragic collapse of the Morandi bridge.

Sales in Italy totaled 7.24 billion euros, accounting for 40.4 percent of the total, followed by the rest of Europe, representing 30.1 percent of the total. The Americas accounted for 26.5 percent of sales, with revenues of 4.77 billion euros. The rest of the world represented 2.9 percent of the total.

Edizione stated on Tuesday that 2020 “will be a challenging year.” Leveraging “determination, sense of responsibility and confidence in the future of the group,” the holding company will continue to support its controlled subsidiaries “to ensure their growth and development also by engaging partners that will share strategy and governance.”

The board proposed to not distribute any dividend for the year. 

The board addressed the “dramatic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” which since the beginning of 2020 “seriously impacted all the sectors in which the group operates,” citing in particular highway and airport traffic.

“We first want to think of and thank the more than 100,000 people in the group of which 30,000 in Italy that with professionalism and sense of duty have continued to work even in very difficult environmental and health situations, guaranteeing essential public services for the community and allowing the group’s companies to operate.” It concluded it was “objectively difficult to foresee the length and the impact” of the global crisis.

As of Dec. 31, net debt stood at 40.4 million euros compared with 39.2 million euros in 2018.