President of Wolford's supervisory board to bid for Austrian group
Wolford's future is still unclear, but new options can be glimpsed on the horizon. In the middle of August, as it published the final results for the 2016-17 fiscal year, the Austrian luxury lingerie and hosiery group revealed that Antonella Mei-Pochtler, President of its supervisory board, has resigned in order to take part in the invitation to tender put forward by the main shareholders.
The group's owners announced in fact last June their willingness to sell all or part of their stakes, held by a series of family holding companies. Wolford has been sailing through troubled waters for some years, and began a new reorganisation process after the first one, led by former CEO Ashih Sensarma, failed.
Future shareholders will therefore need to bankroll themselves their new plans for Wolford. A candidate has already come forward: former Boston Consulting Group Director Antonella Mei-Pochtler, the details of whose bid have not however been disclosed yet. As President of Wolford's supervisory board since 2014, Mei-Pochtler is well aware of the group's recent troubles, but also of its potential assets.
She actually thinks that Wolford's future can become rosier: "With a common vision, the immediate start of restructuring measures, the securing of new funding and the introduction of a new sales approach, a set of crucial basic elements to ensure that Wolford's future will be successful have now been established," she stated.
However, any improvements will not be realised in the fiscal year that has just started. For the fiscal year closed on 30th April 2017, Wolford reported a revenue of €154 million, down 5%, leading to a negative EBITDA (- €3.39 million) and net losses for €17.88 million. The figures are consistent with the group's forecast, taking into account restructuring costs, taxes and depreciation.
In the new fiscal year's first quarter (May to July 2017), sales grew by 3%. The Austrian label does not plan on its growth rate to increase for the rest of the fiscal year, and actually expects further losses. The ongoing reorganisation's first positive effects will be felt during the 2018-19 fiscal year.
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