Home >market >stock-market-news >Listing may value shoe maker Jimmy Choo at up to $1.1 billion

London/Paris: Luxury shoe maker Jimmy Choo is on course to join London’s main stock market next week with a value of up to $1.1 billion, people familiar with the matter said, citing the initial price range quoted by banks arranging the sale.

The company, whose shoes are worn by celebrities across the globe and cost several hundred pounds a pair, is hoping to sidestep the turmoil that has hit some luxury brands following pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong by pointing to its industry-beating sales growth and expansion plans in Asia.

But some investors remain to be convinced, expressing concerns about the comparatively high proportion of revenues it invests in capital spending, as well as its debt levels.

“Jimmy Choo is a great brand with good growth potential but it has a high capital expenditure ratio and usually we prefer fashion companies with stronger balance sheets," said Andrea Gerst, who helps manage the Julius Baer Luxury Goods Fund with €330 million (over 2,500 crore) under management.

“Also, given it is a small company, their growth rates are not amazing, relatively speaking," she said, adding that her firm had not decided yet whether to buy Jimmy Choo shares.

Jimmy Choo started marketing to institutional investors in London on Monday and will then go on to Paris, Frankfurt and the US, a person close to the matter told Reuters.

The share pricing is scheduled for 17 October with trading expected to start on 20 October, the person added.

Books opened with an initial price range of 140-180 pence a share, which would mean an equity value for the company of £546-702 million (about 5,460 crore to 7,020 crore), other people familiar with the matter said.

With a plan to list 25% of the company, the minimum required, that would put the offering size at £136-175 million, before any over-allotment option is exercised, which could see further shares sold.

Founded in the 1990s by Malaysian bespoke shoe maker Jimmy Choo, the company went through several private equity owners before being bought for more than 500 million pounds in 2011 by JAB, the investment arm of Germany’s billionaire Reimann family.

Jimmy Choo, which shot to global prominence through the US fictional television series Sex and the City, is coming to market at a difficult time for the luxury goods industry, with the Ukraine crisis hitting demand in Russia and the Hong Kong demonstrations adding to concerns about a slowdown in China.

Shares in industry leader LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA and Gucci-owner Kering have lost 7-9% of their value since early September while Richemont, owner of jewellers Cartier, is down more than 12%.

Richemont warned last month of flagging Asian demand and analysts expect LVMH to publish lacklustre third-quarter sales on 14 October, a few days before Jimmy Choo is due to be priced.

Track record

Jimmy Choo hopes to woo investors with its potential in Asia, particularly in China where it has 11 shops and aims to open five a year to bring the total to about 30.

It believes it can continue to be perceived as a desirable, niche high-end shoe maker despite its expansion plans, even though demand for brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci has suffered because consumers started to regard them as ubiquitous.

Prada was one of the most active luxury brands opening shops last year and now some analysts fear it has become already a little over-stretched. Last month, it warned it would have no growth this year and its shares have lost more than 13% since early September.

Jimmy Choo, which recently opened a flagship store in London, had 120 directly operated shops as of the end of June and has said it plans to open 10-15 shops a year until 2016.

By comparison, Prada opened 47 shops in 2013 and the brand had 330 directly operated shops at the beginning of the year.

In the past two years, Jimmy Choo’s same-store sales have reached 6-7% growth, with strong demand in the US and Japan. It made adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) of £46.9 million on revenue of £281.5 million in 2013. In the first half of 2014, revenue reached £150.2 million and Ebitda £27.6 million.

The company said overall sales growth in the first half was 9.4%, with a like-for-like increase of 2.2% which was hit by store renovations and the roll-out of a new format.

Jimmy Choo has been investing around 8% of its sales in capital expenditure while the industry standard is around 5% and it has an estimated net debt to Ebitda ratio of more than 3.5 times for 2014—which is significantly above big groups such as Kering and LVMH with ratios below 2%.

The company is estimated to have more than 100 million pounds of debt, one of the people mentioned earlier said.

But the brand will argue its future growth rates will likely remain above the industry as its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the past five years has been 10-12%. Its average annual sales growth has hovered around 15% in the past three years alone, the person added.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is lead managing the listing, with HSBC Plc as joint bookrunner and BHF-BANK as co-lead manager. Reuters

Simon Jessop contributed to this story.

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