Fashions may come and go, and so too may company fortunes if Polgat is any measure. Sales for the clothing company in 2002 increased by 12 percent on 2001, reaching NIS 760 million, according to Polgat's financial statements released yesterday.

Most of this performance was attributable to its subsidiary Bagir, which specializes in menswear suits, jackets and pants and which reported sales of NIS 546 million last year, up from NIS 468 million.

Polgat had cause to celebrate on its bottom line, switching from a loss of NIS 84 million in 2001 to a net profit of NIS 21 million in the past year. The earlier losses had incorporated Bagir's costs for restructuring, which included the loss of 750 jobs. The subsidiary focuses on overseas markets and is particularly concentrating on the British and American markets. According to Polgat, Bagir has cut operating and labor costs and increased its marketing and sales activities, which contributed to the menswear company posting an operating profit of NIS 33 million, compared to a loss of NIS 8 million in 2001.

As part of Bagir's restructuring at the end of 2001, disgruntled workers at the company blockaded their plant for three weeks. Bagir management eventually reached an agreement with the Histadrut labor federation in which 700 workers would be offered early retirement, but allowing the company's discretion over further dismissals.

Not all was rosy last year. Polgat holds a majority stake in Guney Polgat, a Turkish manufacturer of cotton and textiles, which contributed a net loss of NIS 6 million to the parent company last year.