MILAN — IT Holding SpA widened its losses in 2005, but the company said it is optimistic for 2006, citing strong fall-winter order books and forecasting improved profitability along with a 4 percent jump in 2006 revenues.

IT Holding’s net losses for the 12 months ended Dec. 31 widened to 18.7 million euros, or $23.4 million, from 11.2 million euros, or $13.9 million, in 2004. Sales for the period rose 3.5 percent to 676 million euros, or $845 million, on a comparable basis excluding revenue from the fragrance and eyewear businesses that were sold off in 2004.

Last year, those asset sales generated 24.5 million euros, or $30.6 million, for the company.

Excluding the effect of that 2004 bonus, IT Holding said its 2005 net loss would have been 18.7 million euros, or $23.4 million, compared with 35.7 million euros, or $44.3 million, a year earlier. The company said that financial costs linked to the refinancing of bonds also bit into the losses. Currency conversions were made at average exchange rates.

The company did manage to chip into its financial debts. They fell to 307.4 million euros, or $384.2 million, from 324.3 million euros, $402.1 million.

IT Holding released an upbeat forecast for the current year. It said fall-winter orders are currently up 16 percent and up 23 percent excluding those of Dolce & Gabbana’s D&G collection. As reported last year, Dolce & Gabbana chose not to renew its production license with IT Holding and will start producing the line in-house starting with the spring 2007 collection.

IT Holding produces and distributes Just Cavalli, Versace Sport and Versace Jeans Couture. It also owns brands Gianfranco Ferré and Malo.

“Signs of recovery in the major Western economies, the constant growth of emerging markets and the continual growth of our brands’ momentum allows us to look to the future with optimism,” IT Holding president and chief executive officer Tonino Perna said in a statement.

This story first appeared in the March 30, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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