Italy's Ducati sees IPO as an option - CEO

MILAN Mon Nov 7, 2011 2:22pm EST

MILAN Nov 7 (Reuters) - Italy's upmarket motorbike maker Ducati continues to see an initial public offering of its shares as an option, but not for the short-term, as it focuses on continuing its overseas expansion, its top manager said on Monday.

In 2011, Ducati expects to see a 20 percent rise in annual sales to 480 million euros ($660 million), boosted by overseas markets.

For the IPO, "ask the shareholders. The choice has not yet been defined. It is an option but not for the short-term," Gabriele Del Torchio, who is chairman and chief executive officer, told Reuters.

A spokesman for private equity firm InvestIndustrial, the motorbike maker's main shareholder, denied any IPO and said Ducati "is not for sale."

In August, a British newspaper had speculated that Ducati was considering an IPO in Asia to take advantage of a wave of luxury sector IPOs at the time. [ID:nL5E7JE08J]

Ducati's strong earnings multiples could prove attractive to investors once financial markets settle down, analysts said.

Ducati's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margin won't reach 20 percent medium-term but is one of the highest in the industry, Del Torchio said.

In Monday's presentation of new bikes, Del Torchio said Ducati had raised its share of the markets where it operates around the world to 10.7 percent, from 2010's 8.5 percent.

Ducati has just started up an assembly plant in Thailand to save customs duties on imports and to service its Asian expansion. ($1 = 0.727 Euros) (Writing by Nigel Tutt, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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