Mariella Burani Fashion Group (MFBG) and its leather goods unit Antichi Pellettieri (AP), both listed on the Milan stock exchange, have decided to put aside plans to merge due to the difficult economic situation and the instability of the financial markets. The boards of the two companies will continue to examine the possibility of a merger and will rapidly inform the market if the project is reactivated.

On the other hand, MFBG has decided to concentrate on apparel and leather goods, while divesting its recent acquisitions in the fashion jewelry sector. It has announced the sale of the 50 percent stake it had bought in an Italian jewelry concern, Rosato.

Antichi Pellettieri, which owns the shoe maker Baldinini, closed the first quarter with a 5.0 percent increase in revenues to €110.3 million, largely thanks to the consolidation of the handbag manufacturer Mandarina Duck, whose acquisition was completed in June 2008.

In stark contrast with the previous performance of this segment, AP’s shoe sales fell slightly to €33.1 million in the quarter from €33.5 million a year earlier, while apparel sales rose to €8.6 million from €8.2 million and handbags and accessories jumped to €68.5 million from €63.2 million.

Sales in Italy increased to €43.8 million from €38.2 million while foreign revenues slipped to €66.1 million from €66.7 million. Royalties and other revenues totaled €0.3 million.

Gross operating profit (Ebitda) decreased by 38.6 percent to €11.5 million, operating profit (Ebit) was down by 48.6 percent to €8.6 million and pre-tax profit was halved to €7.1 million from €14.4 million.

MBFG’s sales fell by 5.5 percent €171.2 million. Ebitda plummeted to €10.0 million from €29.1 million, Ebit fell to €5.0 million from €24.8 million and pre-tax profits shrank to €1.7 million from €16.7 million.

The group opened nine mono-brand stores in the first quarter to reach 378 at the end of March, with 133 directly operated stores (DOS) and 245 franchisees. Baldinini opened two DOS (one in Venice and the other in Mantua) and two franchisees (one in Russia and one in Ukraine).