MILAN — Italia Independent shares on Wednesday showed some recovery from their downfall during the day and compared with Tuesday, closing up 10 percent at 3.18 euros, or $3.37 at current exchange rate.
Italian media on Wednesday extensively covered the latest news surrounding the group’s cofounder Lapo Elkann, with some reporters penning psychological commentaries on the entrepreneur’s inner demons.
“Lost love, the company’s crisis. Over the past few days he said: I am tired,” was the headline of daily Corriere della Sera on Wednesday. “Fashion, cars and trouble, the latest stumble of the eccentric Agnelli,” reported La Repubblica. “A life in constant precarious balance between creative talent and the shortcut of excess,” titled La Stampa, the Turin-based daily that previously belonged to Elkann’s Agnelli family. The shortcut, contended the paper, is a means “to escape from the nightmare of the unobtainable and unbearable model of his grandfather [Gianni Agnelli].”
Dissipation, continued La Stampa, helps Elkann run away from this comparison, but is “also as a way to atone for a name and a destiny. Excess — as if transgressing were the only way to call for help and the only hope for comfort…” While envy and malicious gossip have inevitably always surrounded Elkann, several observers rose to defend the young entrepreneur, citing him as a generous, kind and talented creative mind.
As reported, according to U.S. media, Elkann filed a police report over the weekend claiming he had been kidnapped in New York as a cover-up for binge drinking and partying. His family reportedly informed the New York police about making a ransom payment. Elkann was arrested for faking his own kidnapping and shortly after released, but ordered to appear in court for arraignment.
The media also attributed this setback to Elkann’s worries over the future of Italia Independent, the eyewear company he founded in 2007 and publicly listed in Milan in 2013.
The company this fall launched a capital increase of 15 million euros, or $17 million, fine-tuning its strategies after reporting disappointing first-half figures. Elkann personally guaranteed the success of the transaction. Shares were offered at 3.40 euros, or $3.60, above the trading price even before the tumble this week.
In the six months ended June 30, Italia Independent reported a net loss of 2.6 million euros, or $2.9 million, on the back of revenues that fell 34.8 percent to 16.3 million euros, or $18.2 million, hurt by a more complex and competitive business environment and investments in global expansion.
Shares have fallen 14.61 percent in one week and 88.82 percent over the last year. The Turin-based company in 2013 listed 27 percent of its total shares, priced at 26 euros, or $33.80, with a market capitalization of around 60 million euros, or $78 million.
Eyewear accounted for 77.4 percent of total Italia Independent sales in the first half.
In the first half, Italy accounted for 47.1 percent of sales while the Americas represented 8.1 percent of revenues. The company plans to focus on its stronger markets including Spain, which accounts for 9.6 percent of sales, France (4.7 percent) and Germany (1.8 percent).
The company teamed with Industrie Testi for a jewelry line, unveiled at Vicenzaoro this fall.
Italia Independent is also seeing a change in management. In November, it tapped Giovanni Carlino as its new chief executive officer, succeeding cofounder Andrea Tessitore. The third cofounder of Italia Independent, Giovanni Accongiagioco, left earlier this year.
Elkann posted a video on Instagram last week saying that he was planning to travel abroad to pursue “a lot of projects” for Italia Independent. “I’ll be seeing many interesting characters in the creative field and in the entrepreneurial field in the next few days.”
Collaborations have helped provide positive signs, such as a deal inked with Adidas Originals, or a watch with Hublot.
In 2015, Elkann launched Garage Italia Customs, a Milan-based company specializing in vehicle customization. Tessitore was appointed vice president of Italia Independent Group and named chief executive officer of Elkann’s Laps to Go Holding, which controls Garage Italia Customs.