MILAN Jan 11 Italy's Moleskine has taken a step
closer to listing its shares on the Milan stock market, a move
that would make the notebook maker the third Italian luxury
brand to go public in less than two years.
In a statement on Friday, the maker of thread-bound jotters
modelled on originals used by Vincent Van Gogh and Ernest
Hemingway said Italian market regulator Consob had approved the
first of a series of documents needed for an IPO.
While a series of IPOs have been put on hold worldwide
because of market volatility, Italy's luxury brands such as
Salvatore Ferragamo, Brunello Cucinelli, and
Prada have proved resilient and successfully gone
public since June 2011.
Moleskine, which has already received the go ahead from the
Italian stock exchange for an initial public offering, is
controlled by private equity fund Syntegra Capital.
Syntegra partner Marco Ariello told Reuters in June the
offering was likely to be made up mostly of existing shares and
Syntegra intended to keep some of its holding following the
listing to benefit from its expected future value.
On Friday Moleskine said sales rose 17 percent in 2012,
helped by strong turnover in Asia and the United States.
The company booked revenue of 66.6 million euros ($88
million) in 2011, while core earnings (EBITDA) rose 26.9 percent
to 28.6 million euros.
"We feel particularly encouraged by growth registered by our
new retail and online sales and of new products", Chief
Executive Arrigo Berni said in the statement.
Moleskine could be valued around 600 million euros on a
multiple of 15 times its forecast 2013 EBITDA of 40 million
Other Italian listed luxury firms are trading at 14.5 times
forecast 2012 core earnings (EBITDA) which is above the luxury
goods sector in general, according to a report by Bank of
Cashmere goods maker Cucinelli, whose pastel-coloured
sweaters have been worn by Britain's Prince William, was valued
around 12 times 2011 EBITDA last April, when it was listed.
($1 = 0.7568 euros)
(Reporting by Antonella Ciancio and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by