Antichi Pellettieri is said to be close to the conclusion of a major licensing deal with Aquascutum, covering shoes and handbags.

The parent company of Baldinini and other footwear and leathergoods brands, which recently went public on the Milan stock exchange, more than doubled net profits in 2006 on the back of ongoing strong growth, especially in emerging markets. The board is proposing a share dividend of 10 cents of a euro.

After stripping out the share of minority shareholders in the group’s subsidiaries, net income grew to €9.655 million compared with €4.094 million in 2005. Fully consolidating the results of partially held subsidiaries such as Coccinelle, the growth was even more impressive as net profits before minority interests went up to €12.227 million from €4.921 million.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 72.0 percent to €34.950 million. After depreciation and amortization, EBIT rose by 69.6 percent to €26.118 million.

Consolidated sales rose by 68.0 percent to €257.461 million, partly boosted by the acquisition of a 51 percent stake in the handbag manufacturer Coccinelle. Excluding acquisitions, sales went up by 30.0 percent. The company’s Baldinini upmarket shoe brand closed the year with sales of about €50 million against €38 million in 2005. Handbags and footwear represented 92.6 percent of overall sales, and geographically, foreign markets totalled 60.0 percent of revenues.

Sales generated by directly-operated stores and franchises represented 17.1 percent of sales. The group opened 26 single-brand stores in 2006, with five directly operated units in Italy and 21 franchises abroad – 10 in Russia, three in Eastern Europe, three in Western Europe, three in the Middle East and two in the Far East. AP had 43 DOS and 107 franchises at the end of 2006 and plans to open 15 single-brand stores this year.

Meanwhile Miereia Lopez Montoya has agreed to join Coccinelle as its new general manager, with the task of further developing all of AP’s operations in the area of handbags and accessories. She previously held a similar post at Finduck, the Italian company that markets handbags and other accessories under the Mandarina Duck brand name.