Roberto Cavalli RTW Fall 2019

MILAN — Unions Filctem Cgil Firenze and Milano and Femca Cisl went on the record on Tuesday ticking off investments in Roberto Cavalli in the 2016-18 period, following the meeting held on April 1 with the company’s president Emiliano Nitti, chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris, the mayor of Sesto Fiorentino Lorenzo Falchi and other municipal and regional officials.

A figure has been circulating regarding the investments channeled into the company by Cavalli’s owner, Clessidra SGR, and it stands at 450 million euros.

According to the unions, Nitti on Monday said around 230 million euros were paid to Roberto Cavalli the designer, as reported, but, in addition, he revealed that around 16 million euros were invested to build the company’s store network in the years from 2016 to 2018 and that 27 million euros were invested in marketing in 2017 and 2018. Adding a capital increase of 15 million euros last year, the investments totaled 58 million euros.

Reached by phone on Tuesday evening, Nitti firmly told WWD: “During the meeting, I did not comment on any speculation or amounts reported by the press over the past few days.

“My speech was limited to the historical account of the investments made by the Roberto Cavalli shareholders, starting from the around 230 million euros spent for 90 percent of shares from the founder of the company in 2015,” continued Nitti. “In this context, I recalled that the company over these years benefited from more than 100 million euros from the sale of a building in France owned by the group and I tell you now of an additional 40 million euros derived by the renegotiation of an important licensing contract — all resources that were available to the company. I then reported the capital increase in two installments totaling 15 million euros, entirely underwritten by the shareholders, in the second part of 2018. On the other hand, I never commented nor supplied any information on the investments made for new store openings in the 2016-2017-2018 period or for marketing initiatives in the 2017-18 period.”

As reported, almost 200 employees went on strike at the Roberto Cavalli plant in Sesto Fiorentino, near Florence, on Monday as unions demanded to be informed about the future of the company.

“The unions and the employees cannot understand why the main shareholder has decided to disinvest from the brand considering that, since the moment of the acquisition, it always had visibility on the performance,” stated the unions on Tuesday. At the same time, the unions also asked “why the management, tasked with the ambitious relaunch of the house did make sure with much advance — and not only at the end of 2018 — that the owner would continue to support the project.” As reported, one Milan-based source said Clessidra cannot legally channel any additional investment in Cavalli because it has “reached its limit as per its statute.”

At the end of April 2015, Clessidra Sgr revealed it was buying 90 percent of Roberto Cavalli SpA in a deal that was to be completed by a newly established company called Varenne, controlled by Clessidra but including L-GAM and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd.

In the note, it was clarified that the restructuring plan with creditors was “a necessary step,” although the sale process is still ongoing and a new meeting was requested in two weeks, in the presence also of adviser Rothschild.

As reported, on Friday Roberto Cavalli SpA’s board decided to file a restructuring plan with the Court of Milan that would allow it to continue to operate while holding discussions with creditors under the so-called process of “composition with creditors.” On that same evening, all of Cavalli’s stores in the U.S. closed and all 93 employees were let go. The company’s U.S. subsidiary,operating under the ArtFashion Corp. moniker, is filing for Chapter 7 this week.

Union member Mirko Zacchei told WWD on Monday that “on paper, there are still three parties showing interest in buying the company: Bluestar Alliance, Philipp Plein and Renzo Rosso’s OTB, although the American fund seems to be the closest to a deal.” Bluestar Alliance has investments in Tahari, Bebe and Catherine Malandrino. OTB is parent of brands Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Paula Cademartori, Viktor & Rolf, Brave Kid and Staff International, which is Just Cavalli’s licensee — a possible reason for the group to look at the brand.