FINK GROUP SEEKS BUYER FOR GERMAN OPERATIONS

Byline: Melissa Drier / with contributions from Arthur Friedman, New York

BERLIN — The Fink Group, which manufactures under the Louis Feraud, Fink and Yarrell labels, has filed insolvency proceedings for its German operations and is actively seeking a buyer.
Susanne Neckermann, president of Louis Feraud Inc., based in New York, said her U.S. subsidiary is separately financed and managed, as are subsidiaries in Paris and London, and these have not been affected by the parent firm’s financial troubles. She said insolvency proceedings are comparable with a Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S.
“We’re delivering resort right now and have just come off strong fall trunk shows, so our future looks bright,” said Neckermann. “It is my understanding that Fink is in negotiations with several potential buyers, and we hope to have a definitive announcement in the coming weeks.”
Earlier this month, banks here froze the Darmstadt-based company’s accounts, forcing Fink Holding Co. into the insolvency filing.
Lilo Fink, who stepped down as managing director at the Fink Group in January, now serves as chairman of the Fink advisory council. She and her daughter, Carina, hold all the interest in the Fink Holding Co., which owns the group.
In 1996, the Fink Group had net sales of $146.7 million (260 million marks) at current exchange, and sales for 1997 are projected at $135.5 million (240 million marks). The company attributed its liquidity problems to its French subsidiary, which has suffered two years of losses due to large returns of merchandise delivered on commission.
Attorneys handling the insolvency proceedings said production is operating as usual and that new credit arrangements should insure production for the spring season.
For potential buyers, the Louis Feraud designer and bridge collections are the most prestigious part of the package, which also includes the mid-market Yarrell coordinates line and Fink dress lines.
The licensing rights for Louis Feraud are held by SNC Feraud & Cie, founded by Lilo Fink and Louis Feraud in 1979. Fink has a 50 percent stake, and the Feraud family owns 10 percent. The remaining 40 percent is controlled by independent shareholders.

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