Cerruti Spring 2000
Cerruti Spring 2000

MILAN, Apr 25, 2002/ — Fin.part has revealed that it plans to focus its growth efforts on the Cerruti label, while it accepts offers for its sportswear business, non-strategic real estate and possibly even the Istvan Francer-designed women’s wear line Maska. The Italian fashion holding company is currently carrying more than $400 million in net debt following a four-year acquisition spree.

Last year, Cerruti posted losses of about $18.6 million on sales of $77.1 million. Fin.part expects sales to rise steadily though, from a forecast $85.7 million in 2002 to $166.1 million in 2004, when the company anticipates its investment in the label will pay back.

Fin.part, founded in 1996, purchased Nino Cerruti’s company, with brands that include Cerruti, Cerruti 1881 and Cerruti Jeans, last year. There has been turmoil in the house since, as Cerruti himself left following the takeover.

Early last month, less than six months after becoming the creative director of Cerruti, Burberry vet Roberto Menichetti left the fashion house rather abruptly, and many speculated about Fin.part’s plans for the label. At the time, there were already rumblings about trouble at the house, after it cancelled its women’s fall 2002 presentation in Paris.

It appears now though, that Fin.part remains committed to the fashion house. Former Donna Karan designer Francer, who debuted his first signature collection last fall, has taken over at the helm of the signature Cerruti line, while design teams are handling the other two collections.

Fin.part’s sportswear subsidiary, Pepper Industries, produces the Marina Yachting, Henry Cotton’s and Moncler labels and accounted for almost 50 percent of the company’s 2001 sales. Fin.part revealed Thursday that it hopes to sell the business by year’s end.

Meanwhile, Maska’s future is still up in the air, as is that of footwear brand Andrea Pfister. There have even been rumors that Fin.part’s home specialist Frette could be on the block.

The company told news agencies Thursday that it could sell Maska, especially if the sportswear sell-off doesn’t pan out, but added that if it does sell the label it would seal an alliance with the purchaser in order to continue to take advantage of production and other synergies. “Maska must support the women’s wear line of Cerruti,” Fin.part managing director (and former Marzotto chief) Silvano Storer explained.

Excluding asset sales, Fin.part said that its sales would rise from about $377.7 million in 2001 to $599.1 million in 2004. With asset sales, Fin.part didn’t provide any predictions, but said that debt would fall about $304 million this year, to about $99.6 million, and that it would post a net profit of about $47 million in 2002.