Responding to a takeover offer, Tecnica Group has sold its Think Pink brand of apparel to Man Socks Italia, a 20-year-old Italian knitwear manufacturer that makes socks, underwear and other items, partly under license with brands such as Fila and Australian. Run separately through a subsidiary, GB International, Think Pink was generating annual sales of around €10 million for the Tecnica group.

The disposal reinforces Tecnica Group's policy of focusing on premium sports brands. In spite of its outdoor-inspired heritage, Think Pink has been positioned in the last few years more as a brand of casual sportswear, sold for the most part in fashion boutiques.

Tecnica has chosen to develop its ranges of outdoor clothing mostly under its Dolomite brand. Better coordinated with its footwear than in the past and featuring a strong brand identity, Dolomite's latest apparel collections have been developing well in the market, company officials say.

The Tecnica group has reported a final consolidated turnover of €384 million for the past year, indicating growth of about 10 percent from 2009, when it dropped slightly to €341.5 million from €345.6 million the year before. The Ebitda margin rose to 9.38 percent last year, up from 6.33 percent in 2008 and 7.02 percent in 2009. The average net financial position continued to be negative, but less than before in spite of investments to €15.2 million, compared with €33.5 million in 2008 and €10.2 million in 2009. Recently acquired, Blizzard broke even for the first time in 15 years.

Think Pink is included in the figures. Dolomite returned to growth with an increase of 3 percent, thanks in part to a doubling of its sales of Moon Boots. Among the other brands owned or controlled by the group, Tecnica went up by 12 percent, Nordica by 14 percent, Blizzard by 12 percent and Lowa by 17 percent, according to a company presentation, but Rollerblade was not mentioned.

In terms of products, sales of footwear increased by 50 percent, ski boots by 6 percent and skis by 12 percent. Overall, outdoor products generated 15 percent more turnover. Sales of apparel went down by 10 percent, while accessories increased by 10 percent.

Sales in Italy grew by only 2 percent, but in some other countries Tecnica recorded double-digit increases. They amounted to 17 percent in the U.S., 13 percent in Germany, 12 percent in Austria, 22 percent in the Netherlands, 26 percent in Russia and 24 percent in Japan.

Tecnica points out that snow products represented less than 50 percent of its sales in 2010, making it less dependent on the weather than before. Skis and ski boots took up 15 and 27 percent of its sales, respectively. Outdoor products made up 35 percent of the total turnover, lifestyle shoes 5 percent, apparel 3 percent and skates 10 percent.

Tecnica kept its position as the world's largest manufacturer of ski boots, with 1.2 million pairs, and inline and ice skates, with 975,000 pairs. It was by far the largest European producer of outdoor shoes, amounting to 2,350,000 pairs. It also made 350,000 pairs of skis.

The group recently started up a new ski boot factory at Nagykallo, in Ukraine, making it the 19th production unit. The company employs a total of 1,562 people, 110 of them in the R&D department and 40 in quality control.

Tecnica Group

Sales by Brand

Brand

% of Sales

Lowa

30

Nordica

25

Tecnica

16

Rollerblade

10

Blizzard

7

Dolomite

4

Think Pink

3

Others

5