NEW YORK — Marisa Christina Inc., which went public Wednesday at $13 a share, closed unchanged Thursday, its first day of trading on the over-the-counter market.
Christina, a manufacturer of better women’s apparel and children’s wear, raised $32.5 million before underwriting expenses from the sale of 2.5 million shares. The offering price was in the middle of the anticipated range of $12 to $14 a share.
Proceeds will be used to pay down debt, including a $10.3 million term loan used to acquire children’s wear maker Flapdoodles Inc. in July 1993, as well as to make a $3 million payment to Flapdoodles’ former owners.
Stockholders of Christina and former owners of Flapdoodles are slated to get $8.5 million as reimbursement for past undistributed income.
For the year ended Dec. 31, net earnings rose 9.1 percent, to $4.8 million from $4.4 million in 1992, according to the prospectus for the offering. Sales, which include six months of Flapdoodles business, climbed 45 percent, to $57 million against $39.3 million in 1992. In the first quarter ended March 31, earnings rose to $1.6 million from $628,000, while sales jumped to $17 million from $9 million.
The Marisa Christina line is known for its handknit sweaters, including a number of novelties, retailing from $110 to $150. The company also makes other knit sportswear, including skirts and pants, in regular, petite and large sizes.
Marisa Christina sells women’s apparel in about 7,500 stores, about 40 percent in individual specialty stores and 35 percent in big department and specialty stores, including Belk Stores, Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus, according to the prospectus.
Specialty chains accounted for about 20 percent of 1993 sales, with Talbots Inc., its largest customer, accounting for 9.8 percent.
About 90 percent of Flapdoodles’ 1993 net sales were to specialty stores and 10 percent were to Bloomingdale’s and other department stores.
Marisa Christina, which is based in New Hyde Park, N.Y., plans to introduce Flapdoodles products into selected Marisa Christina accounts, and a new line of handknit children’s sweaters under the Marisa Christina Kids label will be introduced into selected Flapdoodles accounts.
This year, Flapdoodles introduced a new outerwear line, and Marisa Christina launched a collection of “classic look” knit suits, which it plans to expand into a complete product line for fall 1995.
Founded in 1971, Marisa Christina was acquired in a leveraged buyout in 1981 from Colgate-Palmolive Co. by principals of the Jordan Co. and Carl Marks & Co.
In 1986, after the company suffered several years of poor financial performance, Michael H. Lerner was hired as chief executive officer, president and chairman. Lerner acquired 25 percent of the company’s outstanding stock and brought in a new management team that “restored quality standards to Marisa Christina’s products and increased the number of original designs,” according to the prospectus.
According to the filing, Lerner earned $400,000 in 1993, plus a $470,000 bonus; Marc Ham, president of Flapdoodles, earned $250,000 plus a $41,650 bonus; G. Michael Dees, vice president of design and merchandising, earned $200,000 and a bonus of $155,000; Carole Bieber, executive vice president and design director for Flapdoodles, earned $250,000 and a $41,640 bonus, and Christine M. Carlucci, vice president of administration and operations and secretary, earned $175,000 plus a bonus of $155,000.