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September 4, 2011 2:26 pm
Brunello Cucinelli, an Italian luxury cashmere retailer, has appointed bankers to list a third of the company on the Milan stock exchange early next year in the latest move among Italy’s privately owned luxury goods companies to seek extra funding to expand into Asia.
The company, which is based in a hilltop hamlet in Umbria, sells cashmere sweaters and leather jackets for upwards of €1,000 ($1,420), mostly in Europe and North America, and has emerged as a leader in the luxury niche in the past decade.
The move by Mr Cucinelli follows the successful listing of Italian luxury goods companies Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo on the stock exchange this year and the sale of Moncler, a maker of pricey sportswear, to private equity as they raise funds to reach consumers in China and South America.
Brunello Cucinelli, who has masterminded the expansion of his eponymous company over the past three decades, said he wanted to list “around a third” of the business in order to raise funds to expand into Asia, Brazil and into perfumes and watches.
The business is almost equally split geographically between Italy, the rest of Europe and North America. China accounts for just 2 per cent of sales.
- Brunello Cucinelli
I think the stock market helps companies to live longer
- Brunello Cucinelli
Cucinelli made a turnover of €200m in 2010, a yearly increase of 28 per cent. That is forecast to rise around 20 per cent this year to €245m, Mr Cucinelli, told the FT. Pre-tax profit is expected to rise to €30m, up 65 per cent, a sign of the resilience of the spending of the wealthy even amid a pullback in consumer spending.
In Italy, as opposed to France, Europe’s other fashion hub, many luxury goods companies including well-known names Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace, have remained in private hands. Bankers say the pressure of requiring funds to expand, together with generational change is forcing them to consider sales.
Mr Cucinelli, 57, said he wanted to list because “I think the stock market helps companies to live longer”.
Italy’s stock exchange, Borsa Italiana, is also promoting itself as a destination for luxury goods as it is one of the largest untapped sectors in the Italian economy.
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