Hugo Boss eyes Asia for one fifth of group sales: report

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 | Finance News

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German fashion house Hugo Boss wants its Asian business to lift its contribution to group sales to 21 percent from 15 percent by 2015, Chief financial Officer Mark Langer told Boersen-Zeitung newspaper.

Langer said about two-thirds of the target should come from China, where Hugo Boss is taking over shops from franchise partners and expanding existing stores.

He said developments in its own retail shops in Japan are "very positive" despite the negative impact of the Japanese yen while Hugo Boss is taking over shops from franchise partners in Singapore.

He said by signing up Jason Wu, a Taiwan-born designer and a favorite of American First Lady Michelle Obama, Hugo Boss expects to further grow womenswear in Asia and its contribution to group sales.

Hugo Boss, mainly known for its men's suits, gets about 11 percent of its 2.4 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in annual sales from womenswear.

(Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach)


RCS Mediagroup may be split into three after cash call: report

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 | Finance News

MILAN (Reuters) - RCS Mediagroup , the publisher of influential Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, could be split into three units after a capital hike that is changing the balance of power among its shareholders, La Repubblica reported on Saturday.

The split, aimed at extracting value from the debt-laden company, could open the door to new investors, the Italian daily said in an unsourced report.

Fiat said on Friday it will almost double its stake in RCS to 20.1 percent after a 400 million-euro capital increase that ends next week.

The carmaker, which already controls Turin newspaper La Stampa, will likely become the biggest shareholder in RCS as other investors sell their rights and their stakes are diluted.

The controlling group of shareholders also includes investment bank Mediobanca , tire maker Pirelli , Italy's biggest retail bank Intesa Sanpaolo and leading insurer Generali .

The group could then hive off activities linked to Corriere della Sera and roll them into a new company with La Stampa.

A second unit could be built around sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, while a third company would absorb the Spanish assets of RCS, according to La Repubblica.

Fiat chairman John Elkann, who was named to the board of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in May, could invite the Australian media tycoon to take a stake in one of the three new companies, La Repubblica said.

There is no plan to tie up RCS Mediagroup with News Corp , a source familiar with the situation told Reuters, adding that Fiat investment in RCS aims to stabilize a wobbly shareholder base so the company turnaround plan can proceed.

A plan worked out to shore up the company in February does not envisage any split and is based on the sale of a wide range of assets and on layoffs.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini and Jennifer Clark)


ThyssenKrupp mulls selling part of European steel business, paper

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 | Finance News

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - ThyssenKrupp , Germany's biggest steelmaker, is examining the possibility of selling part of its European steel business to an investor, Rheinische Post newspaper said on its website on Saturday, citing unnamed supervisory board sources.

A company spokesman declined comment to Reuters and pointed to previous statements by Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger that Thyssen had no plans to divest European steel operations.

ThyssenKrupp, reeling from losses at its Steel Americas unit it is trying to sell, cannot rule out a capital increase in the next six to nine months, its Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger said in May.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Friday cited industry sources as saying that as part of a capital increase of as much as 1 billion euros ($1.30 billion), state-owned RAG foundation could buy fresh shares to ensure the steelmaker's independence.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday that RAG, which controls chemicals maker Evonik , could buy shares in ThyssenKrupp as part of a possible capital increase at the steelmaker.

The Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, also known as the Krupp Foundation, has a 25.3 percent stake in Thyssen and has been a guardian of its independence but analysts said it was unlikely to take part in a capital increase.

There had been speculation that if the Krupp Foundation lost its blocking minority, Thyssen could become a takeover target.

(Reporting By Marilyn Gerlach and Tom Kaekenhoff; Editing by David Cowell)