* Down jackets to remain the foundation of the business
* Carlyle to retain half of stake
MILAN Dec 2 Investors are scrambling for a
share of Europe's biggest luxury goods IPO in years, as owners
of skiwear maker Moncler seek to raise as much as 785 million
euros ($1.07 billion) and the company pushes beyond its
trademark feather-filled jackets.
Moncler , founded in the French Alps in 1952,
has secured demand for shares worth more than 12 times that
amount with more than a week remaining before subscriptions
close on Dec. 11, a source close to the deal said on Monday.
It is looking to develop further into knitwear and
accessories, while keeping "duvet" jackets - which bring in
around 85 percent of its revenue - as the company's centrepiece,
said president and shareholder Remo Ruffini.
"I don't understand businesses that make everything, because
each product is specialised," said Ruffini, who took control of
Moncler 10 years ago and has overseen a tenfold increase in
sales to 489 million euros last year.
At a presentation in Milan, Moncler executives said they
also planned to open shops in new markets such as Russia.
The company's continued reliance on a narrow range of
products makes it a riskier business, said Scilla Huang Sun, who
runs the JB Luxury Brands Fund.
"But the brand is strong and there is potential to leverage
it," she said.
The flotation of around 30 percent of Moncler, which will
value the company at between 2.2 billion and 2.55 billion euros,
is set to displace leather group Salvatore Ferragamo 's
IPO as the biggest European luxury listing of recent years.
Moncler cancelled an earlier IPO plan in 2011 and opted
instead to sell a 45 percent stake to a group led by French
investment firm Eurazeo in a deal that valued the
company at 1.2 billion euros.
Ferragamo raised 344 million euros later in 2011 through a
listing that valued the luxury leather goods group at 1.5
billion euros. Its share price has more than trebled since.
By selling only existing Moncler stock, the shareholders are
now cashing in on the company's growth, with the Eurazeo-led
group divesting 14 percent of the company and relinquishing its
position as top shareholder to Ruffini, who is not selling any
of his shares and will own 32 percent after the IPO.
Eurazeo itself will sell around 11.5 percent of the company
through the IPO and retain 19.71 percent. Eurazeo could earn
around 250-300 million euros from the sale, Reuters calculates.
Private equity group Carlyle will sell just under
half of its 18 percent holding. A Carlyle executive said it had
not yet decided what to do later with its remaining shares.
"New products like knitwear and accessories, and new
geographies, are the two drivers that should ensure the company
keeps up its strong growth rates," said Marco De Benedetti,
managing director at Carlyle.
The stock is set to debut in Milan on Dec. 16.