The Italia Independent Group's board of directors has announced its intention to analyze the opportunity of new strategic partnerships and to propose another capital increase in order to support the brand's relaunch. A spokesman for the company indicated that it is looking in particular for a licensee or another industrial partner to develop a line of clothing and for sales partnerships in Asia. He added that the company is open to allow such partners to obtains shares in Italia Independent.
The new capital increase is intended to inject up to €5 million in new equity into the company, whose sales declined by about 6 percent last year to €25.9 million, according to preliminary figures. The company attributes the drop to a more selective distribution policy. The proceeds would be used to help finance new collaborations and investments in branding and communication.
It would come after an equity increase of €15 million that was approved in September of 2016, a year in which its sales fell by 30 percent. Lapo Elkann, the wealthy heir of the Agnelli family who founded the company in 2007 and continues to control it with a stake of 63 percent, had declared his commitment to ensure the completion of the new refinancing effort during the first half of this year.
Evidently, Italia Independent needs fresh money after a year in which its net debt went up to €24.4 million from €18.3 million at the end of 2016, possibly as a result of a bond issue. The gross profit declined to €16.1 million in 2017 from €18.7 million in the previous year. There was an improvement in the operating loss (Ebitda), which declined to a still negative level of €2.5 million from €8.3 million, thanks to the elimination of non-strategic costs and better efficiencies.
The results include the consolidation of Independent Ideas, the advertising arm of the group, which is being sold to Publicis Communication.
The value of Italia Independent's shares on the Milan stock exchange declined slightly after the announcement, but it is up by 11 percent from one year ago.