February 26, 2009 / 2:18 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 2-Italy OKs special administration for Ferre owner

3 Min Read

* Owner of Gianfranco Ferre under administration

* Label's fashion show confirmed for Friday in Milan

* Government wants businesses to continue

(Adds confirmation of show, administration details)

ROME, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Designer label Gianfranco Ferre has been put into special administration under the weight of financial pressure, along with its owner IT Holding, just a day before the label launches its new womenswear collection.

In a statement on Thursday, Italian Industry Minister Claudio Scajola said the move aimed "to safeguard the group and its ability to continue in business".

A spokesman confirmed the Ferre catwalk show would go ahead on Friday as scheduled.

IT Holding is one of the first Italian listed companies to go into special administration in the global market crisis and its fate reflects not just the current credit crunch but also the impact of falling demand on luxury goods companies.

IT Holding's administrators will be those already appointed for its Ittierre unit, which filed for special administration earlier this month. IT Holding employs over 1,800 people.

Administrators have six months to draw up a restructuring plan for the group, which could include the sale of some assets. Besides Ferre, IT Holding also owns the Malo and Exte brands and its Ittierre unit distributes for Cavalli and Versace lines.

Ferre's founder died in 2007. He was known for his signature "architectural" style in suits and jackets and his trademark white shirts.

The label, one of Italy's best-known fashion lines, is now styled by Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, from stablemate brand Malo.

On Wednesday, Roberto Cavalli cancelled his Just Cavalli line show because of the uncertainty surrounding IT Holding.

Special administration aims to find ways to revive the business of companies in financial difficulties without closing them down.

The appointment of administrators means former management, headed by chairman and owner Tonino Perna, no longer runs the company.

The Ittierre unit obtained a 30 million euros credit line from five Italian banks on Wednesday.

IT Holding had net debt of 295.4 million euros at the end of September and lost 10.1 million euros in the first nine months of 2008. [ID:nL9666865]

It had been seeking a partner for months. Talks with China's Mensun ended exclusivity without a deal at the end of 2008. Its shares are suspended indefinitely. (Writing by Jo Winterbottom in Milan, editing by Will Waterman)

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