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Prada sees profits rise amid listing speculations

By Rashmi Kumar

Family-controlled fashion group Prada announced on 29 March that its sales for 2010 rose by over 30%, buoyed by strong demand in the Asia-Pacific region, but made no comment about speculation it is planning an IPO.

The Milan-based company said in a statement that its revenues increased to €2.05 billion, up from €1.56 billion the previous year. With brands including Miu Miu and Church under its umbrella, the Italian group’s net profits doubled in 2010 to €250.8 million.

Chief executive and owner Patrizio Bertelli said in a statement: “Today the group presents itself with a strong industrial and distribution structure poised to take advantage of the best opportunities offered in all markets.”

With the biggest sales growth in Asia-Pacific, it has further fueled speculation of an IPO in Hong Kong. But analysts are nevertheless sceptical if the listing will happen - Prada has so far cancelled its IPO plans three times (Continue reading here). Its latest announcement of a listing in Hong Kong was made in January.

Controlled by the husband-wife team of Miuccia Prada and Bertelli, if the listing goes ahead it will reduce the family ownership, which is currently at 95%. Reports also say that Prada plans to list around 30% of the company in Hong Kong, but when contacted, the group was unavailable to comment.

Prada was launched in 1913 by Mario Prada and his brother Martino as a small leather goods shop. Miuccia Prada is the third-generation of the founding family who controls the business with her husband. The remaining 5% of Prada is held by Italian bank Intesa Sanpaola.

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