Lending Lull

Trendy But Cash-Strapped, Small Fashion Makers Fight for Financing

Sewing appears easier than  finding CEO successors. Source: DPA
Sewing appears easier than finding CEO successors.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s small- and mid-sized fashion houses are struggling, and most can’t get the loans or credit they need to grow or survive.

  • Facts


    • The succession crisis at Bogner, a German clothing maker, is endemic of the generational succession issues facing small firms.
    • Most mid-sized fashion firms in Germany generate only half the cash they need to finance their own growth.
    • Small- and medium-enterprise bonds are one way to raise financing, but interest costs are usually high.
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Willy Bogner Jr. wants to put things in order at Bogner, the German sports clothing company created by his father in 1932, to ensure the brand lives on when he leaves.

He’s been consulting with the U.S. investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.

Sources within the company have told Handelsblatt just about anything is possible from going public with a sale of stock to selling the company outright, though Mr. Bogner reportedly is insisting the buyer be another clothing company with expertise in the field.

Whatever path he chooses, the 72-year old ex-skiing star and filmmaker must ensure the fashion company can finance its long-term growth. The brand has potential, as underscored by the expansion of its fashion and licensing business and the opening of additional retail stores, sources said. But this growth also generates additional costs.

Mr. Bogner, who manages the company, has overcome the initial reluctance of other family members, who are the sole shareholders of the company.

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