Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio

NEW YORK — Norton McNaughton Inc., a moderate-price sportswear firm, said Tuesday it had signed a letter of intent to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Beldoch Industries Corp., a privately held women’s knitwear firm here.
Terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to be completed by February. Following the acquisition, Beldoch’s existing management will remain active in the operation of the company, according to Beldoch officials.
“I will continue to be active in the company,” said Gene Hochfelder, chairman and chief executive officer of Beldoch, who said he would step down in February to be a consultant to the new company.
His son Jim, currently president and chief marketing officer of Beldoch, will add the title of ceo. Also remaining on board is his son Andrew, who will continue as vice president in charge of manufacturing, and son Tom, who continues as head of Knitmakers, a private label division.
Beldoch Industries, which was founded in 1940, had net sales of approximately $68 million for its fiscal year ended March 31. Beldoch designs, manufactures and markets brand name, moderately priced women’s knitwear under the Beldoch Popper and Pierre Cardin labels. Beldoch also produces private label knitwear in its Knitmakers division.
Norton McNaughton and Beldoch officials touted the advantages of the merger.
“We will benefit greatly from Norton McNaughton’s strong distribution with department stores,” said Gene Hochfelder.
“This provides an immediate opportunity for us to enter into the moderate knitwear market. With this acquisition, we can grow together because of the synergies between us,” said Sandy Greenberg, chairman and ceo of Norton McNaughton.
Greenberg added that next year Norton McNaughton planned to open a moderate-price knitwear division, which would include dresses and suits, to be shipped to department stores in February 1996. It will be separate from the McNaughton and Beldoch labels. “We want to capitalize on Beldoch’s production facilities,” he said. Norton McNaughton, which was founded in 1981, expects to post sales of more than $160 million for fiscal 1994, which ended Nov. 4. The firm markets career and casual sportswear under such labels as Norton McNaughton, Norton McNaughton Petites, Maggie McNaughton, McNaughton Wear, Modiano and Pant-her, a private label of May Co.

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