financial
financial

Better Margins Lift IT Holding

IT Holding SpA is back in the black after improving operating margins.

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MILAN — IT Holding SpA is back in the black after improving operating margins.

The Italian fashion group, which owns the Gianfranco Ferré, Malo and Exte brands and operates under license the Just Cavalli and C'N'C Costume National and Galliano labels, on Wednesday reported net earnings for 2007 of 4.8 million euros, or $6.6 million at average exchange, compared with a loss of 11.5 million euros, or $14.4 million at average exchange, a year earlier.

Revenues for the 12 months through Dec. 31 fell 8.5 percent to 635.9 million euros, or $871.7 million. However, discounting the loss of the D&G license, which generated sales in 2006 of more than 200 million euros, or $274 million, revenues spiked almost 32 percent on a like-for-like basis, exceeding company targets.

IT Holding attributed the like-for-like sales growth to a 17.6 percent rise in Gianfranco Ferré revenues, a 44 percent gain in the Ittierre young line division and a 48.5 percent jump in the Plus IT Accessories division.

Earnings before interest and taxes for the full year rose 26 percent to 46.5 million euros, or $63.7 million, while operating margins improved 2 percent to 7.3 percent.

IT Holding chairman and chief executive officer Tonino Perna described 2007 as "an exceptional year." He added that the group's investments in the Gianfranco Ferré and Malo brands and the Plus IT Accessories and Ittierre young line divisions allowed for "a positive outlook for the current year."

The company said it would not issue a dividend.

Shares in IT Holding closed up 17.7 percent to 0.68 euros, or $1.06 at current exchange, at the end of trading in Milan on Wednesday. However, the stock is still down more than a third this year.
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