MILAN — As talks continue about selling a significant stake of its business, The Roberto Cavalli group closed 2014 with a decrease in profitability and gains in revenues, blaming socioeconomic gyrations, declines in the wholesale channel and financial troubles hitting a licensee.
Ahead of its Just Cavalli show on Thursday, the Italian fashion group posted unaudited earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 14.8 million euros, or $19.6 million, down 33.9 percent compared with the previous year.
Without taking into consideration extraordinary items connected to the devaluation of credits from licensees and nonrecurring costs, EBITDA would have risen 8.9 percent to 24.4 million euros, or $32.4 million.
In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, sales rose 4.2 percent to 209.4 million euros, or $278.5 million.
Dollar figures were converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
The company also addressed the ongoing talks to sell a majority stake to Italian private equity firm Clessidra SGR SpA.
Discussions “are proceeding” and the company said it is “confident they will close within the timing expected.” The deal was to be finalized in the first quarter of this year. “Clessidra first had access to Cavalli’s data room on Jan. 10, so it’s not been very long,” said chief executive officer Daniele Corvasce before the Just Cavalli show, adding that the deal should be completed at the end of March or April. “It’s only normal for a company to close its financial year first.” When told that market sources say Clessidra is in the process of financing the funds to acquire the company, Corvasce said he could not respond for Clessidra but conceded that “banks have been calling to participate and this obviously pleases us.”
According to market sources, signs point to a positive outcome of the negotiations, as “some paperwork” has already been signed. In the past year, Permira and later VTB Capital, part of Russian investment bank VTB Group, were engaged in negotiations with Cavalli, but those deals never materialized.
Sources said Clessidra could buy up to 90 percent of the fashion house. Upon completion of a deal, Francesco Trapani would become president of the Cavalli company. Market sources point to Peter Dundas, a veteran of Cavalli and Emilio Pucci’s artistic director since 2008, as possibly returning to the Florence-based brand.
In 2014, the performance of the Cavalli group was dented by a 4 percent decrease in its wholesale channel, especially in Russia.
Retail sales represented 68 percent of total and were up 1.2 percent. In directly operated stores, revenues climbed 6 percent, lifted by new stores in cities such as Vienna, Saint-Tropez, Hong Kong and the new flagship on via Monte Napoleone in Milan.
New franchised stores included the units in Macau and Bangkok. At the end of 2014, monobrand stores for the group numbered 190, compared with 179 at the end of 2013. Of these, 91 are Roberto Cavalli (41 of these directly operated); 54 Just Cavalli; 28 Cavalli Class and 17 Roberto Cavalli Junior. The company continues to invest in its retail network. A directly operated store will open in Houston in September and a unit in Hong Kong will open in June.
Revenues from licenses rose 11.6 percent. Despite the growth of some licenses, problems of credit recovery negatively impacted the group’s early results. Dressing SpA, a former Cavalli Class licensee, is going out of business. The issues at Dressing accounted for 10 million euros, or $11.3 million, Corvasce said..