A new generation is taking over at BasicNet, the parent company of brands like Kappa, Superga and Sebago, after the company reported the best financial results in its history. Its consolidated sales grew in 2018 by 14.7 percent to €210.4 million, with a growth of 15.2 percent in local currencies. Ebitda jumped by 43.2 percent to €33 million and the consolidated net profit soared by 97.4 percent to €21 million.

The Italian company announced that Federico Trono, a 12-year veteran of BasicNet born 46 years ago, will become its new chief executive next month. He will take the place of Gianni Crespi, who celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday after the completion of a three-year mandate during which the company's stock market capitalization grew from around €230 million to more than €330 million.

At the same time, the average age of the company's directors will be reduced by ten years with the election to the board of Alessandro and Lorenzo Boglione, sons of the company's 72-year-old founder and chairman, Marco Boglione, and two other members.

Crespi, who says he will be ready for a new challenge after ensuring the transition through to the end of this year, credits the improvement in the company's results under his own management to stricter cost controls and good management of cash, credit, currency hedging and the supply chain.

Last year's sales increase was due to a 14.4 percent increase in the company's direct sales in Italy to €155.6 million and an increase of the same magnitude in its royalties and sourcing commissions to €47.9 million. Including the licensees' sales, the group's total wholesale-equivalent turnover went up by 17 percent to €875.3 million, with a growth of 18.8 percent in constant currencies.

Sales increased by 16.5 percent in Europe, by 13.1 percent in the Americas, by 12 percent in Asia-Pacific and by 12.5 percent in the Middle East and Africa. The strongest sales gains were recorded by Kappa, K-Way and Superga.

Sebago, the American footwear brand acquired by BasicNet from Wolverine Worldwide late last year, made a small contribution in the fourth quarter, but it is expected to generate sharply higher sales in 2019, as compared with $27 million in 2017, following a major overhaul of its distribution. Besides, its boat shoes could become fashionable again as jeans and sailing are coming back into fashion.

The Sebago brand is now sold in 88 countries around the world, more or less as many as before, but with a stronger potential market penetration according to the Italian group, especially outside Europe. BasicNet has retained about one-third of the brand's former distributors. Another third are new licensees and the final third are licensees of Superga that consider Sebago to be a good complement for their brand portfolio.