Milan: Italy’s leading fashion houses are increasingly looking to the stock market for the kind of financing needed to develop in the ever-competitive luxury sector, while keeping the business in the family.
Two leading Italian labels, Salvatore Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli, this week announced plans to be quoted on the stock market from 2008, unlike the trend of the 1990s when labels sought to join large groups.
At that time, Fendi and Emilio Pucci became part of French luxury goods group LVMH, while Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Sergio Rossi fell in with its rival, Pinault Printemps Redoute (PPR).
In 2000, the house of Gianfranco Ferre, who died last weekend after suffering a massive brain haemorrhage, had sold 90% of its capital to the Groupe Tonina Perna.
“These companies preferred to sell to better develop themselves,” said Armando Branchini, head of the InterCorporate consultants’ company.
Today, however, several fashion houses that are still financially independent — Versace, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo or Roberto Cavalli—are tempted by the stock market.
“Currently in Italy there are many family businesses and also young companies whose future will be shaped more and more in the stock market, and not in integrating into big luxury groups,” added Branchini.
On Thursday, the president of Salvatore Ferragamo, Ferruccio Ferragamo, one of the founder’s heirs, announced plans to introduce the company on the stock market next year. It followed hard on the heels, a day earlier, of Roberto and Eva Cavalli’s announcement that they were thinking of bringing a partner into their fashion house in order to be quoted on the stock market, but not for a year.
Versace has indicated that it is mulling stock market quotation. Prada, owned by the founder’s niece Miuccia Prada, has twice abandoned plans to be floated on the market but said recently that it intended to be quoted in the near future. Only Dolce and Gabbana and Giorgio Armani have rejected the stock market option, or an alliance with investors.