REPORTS STRONGLY DENIED THAT BALMAIN ON BLOCK

PARIS — Reports are circulating here that Pierre Balmain SA is up for sale, although the company’s main shareholder, Erich Fayer, has emphatically denied it.
“I’m not a seller,” Fayer told WWD in a telephone call from Seoul, Korea.
According to financial sources in Paris, however, Fayer has been shopping around his shares in the house.
“It’s highly confidential, but there have been leaks [about a sale],” said one Paris-based private banker.
Fayer, who did not attend Oscar de la Renta’s couture collection for Balmain on Monday, insisted this was not true.
“If you can find any prospectus on Balmain, I’ll pay you a high price on it. I plan to hold on to my stake in Balmain. The house is not for sale,” he continued.
Fayer’s presence in Asia has increased speculation here that he might be negotiating with Pacific Concord, the Hong Kong-based group that signed an agreement with Balmain in spring 1993 to open stores in China that would sell Balmain’s men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories.
“This isn’t the case. Pacific Concord will never buy Balmain,” said Fayer, who pointed out that Balmain will launch a new woman’s scent called Opera worldwide in October.
As reported, the Balmain fashion business last year lost $3.5 million (18.7 million francs) on sales of $13.1 million (69.6 million francs). Last year’s results for Parfums Balmain have not yet been made public, but in 1992 the fragrance business lost $1 million (5.5 million francs) on sales of $1.8 million (9.3 million francs).

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