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Family-controlled Ferragamo contemplates listing shares

Italian luxury goods maker Ferragamo, majority-controlled by members of the founding family, plans to list its shares in Milan, said reports.

Italian luxury goods maker Ferragamo, majority-controlled by members of the founding family, plans to list its shares in Milan, said reports.

The Florence, Italy-based Ferragamo has filed its initial public offering with the Italian stock exchange, according to Italy’s business newspaper Milano Finanza. Reports say it will list 30% of its shares in Milan by July. When contacted, the group was unavailable for comment. Reports also said that the listing, intended to fund expansion, could value the company at around $2 billion.

The listing will likely dilute family ownership, but with no specific details available, the extent to which it will change is unclear. In March, the group sold an 8% stake of Ferragamo to the Hong Kong-based Woo family in an attempt to strengthen its market presence in Asia. This was the first time the family had sold shares to outside investors.

Ferragamo joins fellow Italian family business Prada in considering a listing. Prada said in January that it plans to list, but while it hopes to use the listing to expand internationally – it is considering an initial public offering in Hong Kong – Ferragamo will focus on its domestic market through a listing in Italy.

Both Ferragamo and Prada have considered an IPO before, but put it on hold due to the financial crisis. Speculations were earlier rife that Ferragamo too would list in Hong Kong, but the group’s non-family chief executive Michele Norsa dismissed those reports. He said in February: “We have not taken any decision (over an IPO). We remain committed to Italy.”

Ferragamo was founded in 1927 by the group’s namesake Salvatore Ferragamo. His wife Wanda took over the company after his death in 1960. She is now the honorary chairman of the group, while son Ferruccio is president of the company. Third-generation James is the product director of the women’s leather division, while the group’s first non-family member Norsa is the chief executive. He was hired in 2006 to succeed Ferruccio.

Ferragamo reported a 26% rise in its 2010 revenues to €781 million. Its net profits for 2010 also increased to €60.8 million, after a loss of €14.7 million the year before.

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