Prada dressed to impress for IPO with record sales

MILAN Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:09am EST

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MILAN (Reuters) - Catwalk darling Prada, which plans to become the first European fashion house to float in Hong Kong this year, said retail expansion and a booming Asia market lifted sales rose to a record in 2010.

The Italian fashion house, known for its unconventional style and dainty handbags, has kicked off a listing process in Hong Kong that could value it at more than 6 billion euros ($8.21 billion).

The group said revenue rose 31 percent to 2 billion euros in 2010, confirming a strong rebound seen at other top luxury goods groups such as LVMH (LVMH.PA).

"These results confirm the retail network expansion is a winning strategy, and exceeding ... 2 billion in revenue ... allows us to set further challenging goals," Chief Executive Officer Patrizio Bertelli said in a statement on Thursday.

Full-year sales in Asia, including Japan, rose 48 percent, confirming it as the fastest-growing region for Prada, followed by the United States and Europe.

Analysts say Prada could seek a valuation in Hong Kong of at least 12 times projected 2011 core earnings of more than 500 million euros, in line with the luxury sector.

The sector bounced back in 2010 much more quickly than many analysts expected after suffering its worst slump in decades.

($1=.7308 Euro)

(Editing by David Hulmes)

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