May 24, 2013
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Prada says not planning on making acquisitions

May 24, 2013

MILAN - Italian fashion house Prada is not planning on returning to the acquisition trail for now, its chief executive said on Thursday, dousing speculation it might be in the hunt for deals.

Prada was reported to be mulling a bid for Italian jeweller Pomellato before it was snapped up by PPR last month, fuelling talk it could go on a shopping spree again, as it did in the late 1990s and early 2000s and nearly collapsed under the weight of its debt because of it.

"We're not interested in acquisitions at the moment," Prada Chief Executive Patrizio Bertelli told shareholders at the luxury company's annual general meeting.

"We believe we have enough to do within our business as it is, so we absolutely do not want to distract ourselves and complicate things."

Prada floated two years ago, partly to raise cash to pay back its creditors.

The company acquired a string of companies including Jil Sander and Helmut Lang which it was forced to sell a few years later at a loss.

Prada has seen its net cash position improve to 312.6 million euros as at January 31, from 13.6 million euros in January 2012 and a deficit of 375.4 million in January 2011.

Bertelli's comment echoed those by rival Giorgio Armani who said earlier this week he was not planning on spending his cash pile of 565 million euros on acquisitions.

Armani is privately owned by its founder and saw revenues rise 16 percent last year to 2.1 billion euros - the same growth rate as Italian rival Gucci.

Meanwhile, Prada's turnover rose 29 percent in its fiscal year to January 31. to 3.3 billion euros, one of the highest growth rates in the industry.

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