MILAN, March 5 (Reuters) - Italy's Moleskine could aim for a valuation of up to 17.3 times its forecast 2014 core earnings in a planned initial public offering (IPO) in Milan this month, according to research by UBS reviewed by Reuters.
The study by researchers at UBS, which is also a global coordinator for the IPO, compared the notebook maker with upscale brands such as Michael Kors, Mulberry, Tumi and Brunello Cucinelli, the last Italian company to tap financial markets almost a year ago.
Based on these companies' multiples, Moleskine could be valued in a range of between 500 million euros and 745 million euros ($651-$970 million), the research said.
Moleskine, whose notebooks are based on originals favoured by Vincent Van Gogh and Ernest Hemingway, on Monday reported an adjusted EBITDA of 33.5 million euros in 2012, with a margin on sales of 43 percent.
Full-year net profit rose 25 percent to 19.7 million euros, while revenues rose 17.1 percent to 78 million euros.
The offering would be reserved 90 percent for institutional investors, with 10 percent for retail.
The company is expected to set a price range for its shares in about two weeks' time and complete the offering by the end of the month, two sources said on Monday.
Goldman Sachs, Mediobanca and UBS are running the sale, while Rothschild is financial adviser.
Improving stock markets since the start of the year have revived interest in new share issues after years of subdued activity because of the global financial crisis.
Moleskine is controlled by private equity fund Syntegra Capital, which owns 67.7 percent. Investment firm Index Ventures has 15.2 percent, the company founder Francesco Franceschi 10.6 percent while the management owns the remaining 6.5 percent. ($1 = 0.7677 euros) (Reporting by Elisa Anzoli; writing by Antonella Ciancio; editing by James Jukwey)