Italian group to revive Cerruti's flagging sales

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ROME--Nino Cerruti, the troubled Italian menswear design house, is hoping to find new life after holding company Fin.part acquired a controlling stake in the business for $70 million. The deal will be finalized by the end of the year.

As the fashion industry has consolidated over the last several years, Nino Cerruti suffered as its market share and name recognition eroded. But Fin.part says it will capitalize on the house's reputation for chic men's clothing and sophisticated perfumes for both sexes, while adding much-needed capital and exposure.

Nino Cerruti himself, the company's founder, will stay on as creative director of the fashion division, while Fin.part will take over the business side of the company.

Although Fin.part says it is too early to determine the company's future marketing plans, the acquisition will almost certainly include a major rebranding campaign, according to local sources. Two years ago, Fin.part., which has tourism and real estate holdings, bought the company that controls the Henry Cotton brand. Earlier this year, Fin.part acquired control of women's fashion house Maska.

Nino Cerruti had sales of $63 million last year, with about a fifth of that coming from royalties paid by third parties using the com-pany's name.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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