MILAN — Nautica’s Italian licensee, Ridenco SpA, said it plans to float a seven-year bond to support its aggressive rollout of Nautica stores throughout the Mediterranean.

This story first appeared in the October 14, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A spokeswoman for Ridenco said the Athens-based company is in talks with several Greek banks to eventually issue a 50 million euro, or $61.5 million, bond early next year. She declined further comment.

Ridenco, which is traded on the Athens stock exchange, has been Nautica’s licensee and distributor in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Eastern Europe for the past decade. Last year it expanded its role to include Italy.

Since it took over Italian distribution for the sportswear label last fall, it has opened some nine stores throughout the country, as well as a showroom in Milan. Two more units are set to open in Sardinia and the ski resort town of Cortina in December. A spokeswoman said Ridenco plans to open another 40 Nautica stores in Italy within the next five years.

The money from the bond would not only be earmarked for Italy, but for other retail projects throughout Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Eastern Europe, as well. There are currently 41 Nautica stores in those counties and Ridenco said it wants to double that number within the next year.