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Prada Talks IPO Timing

Company expects listing on the Milan Stock Exchange in either June or November pending outcome of talks with advisers and due diligence.

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MILAN Notwithstanding a nervous stock market, Prada SpA is still set on going public this year and even knows when.
 
A Prada spokesman said Sunday the company planned to list on the Milan Stock Exchange in either June or November pending the outcome of consultation with advisers and due diligence analysis. He added no decision would be made until at least March, when Prada reports 2007 earnings.
 
“We don’t have to decide tomorrow,” the spokesman told WWD.
 
The Milan-based fashion group, which owns the Prada, Miu Miu, Car Shoe and Church’s brands, said in December it planned to float in 2008, subject to market conditions, and named as its banks Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and Unicredit SpA and Goldman Sachs & Co. Some 30 to 40 percent of the group is expected to go public.
 
Industry sources valued Prada at an estimated 4 billion to 5 billion euros, or $5.87 billion to $7.34 billion at current exchange.
 
Competitor Ferragamo SpA is also planning an IPO this year and has reportedly tapped Mediobanca and J.P. Morgan as global coordinators and UBS as joint book runner on the deal.
 
Ferragamo chief executive Michele Norsa told WWD last week the Florentine luxury group was going ahead with preparations for the listing.
 
Speculation has been mounting that the slowdown in consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe and sliding luxury stocks could deter both companies, particularly Prada, from floating.
 
Prada, which is 95 percent owned by the Prada family, has pulled the plug on its IPO three times in the last seven years, citing unfavorable market conditions.
 
Luxury stocks listed in Milan have lost on average a third of their value in the last three months on fears of a bleaker economic outlook.
 
A Prada spokesman said in December the company was in perfect condition to list this year, referencing a track record of solid sales and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization growth over the last three years and a strong internal management team. He added that Prada sales were in line to grow at least 20 percent in 2007.

 

For more, see Tuesday's issue of WWD.