| HONG KONG/MILAN
HONG KONG/MILAN Italian fashion house Prada is set to file a listing application by Friday for a Hong Kong IPO that could be worth around $2 billion, sources with direct knowledge of the plans told Reuters on Wednesday.
The Milan-based company, known for its colorful Miu Miu dresses and Prada handbags, is set to file the so-called A1 listing application form with the Hong Kong stock exchange ahead of a planned listing at the end of June, the sources said.
Two sources said the filing is expected on Friday, while a third source said it could happen on Thursday.
Prada was not immediately available for comment.
The IPO, the first for an Italian company in Hong Kong, would come on the heels of other Hong Kong listings by overseas companies.
These include Russian aluminum maker UC RUSAL (0486.HK) and French skincare products retailer L'Occitane (0973.HK), which have looked to raise funds from deep-pocketed Asian investors and to benefit from higher valuations.
The group could raise at least 1.6 billion euros ($2.25 billion) and seek a valuation of around 15 times 2010 core earnings, above the 12.5 times average of the luxury sector, two other sources close to the issue said.
Prada posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of around 536 million euros in the fiscal year ended on January 31.
The fashion house, run by Patrizio Bertelli and designer Miuccia Prada, has about a third of its 326 directly operated stores in Asia-Pacific, its fastest-growing market.
Prada has appointed Italian banks UniCredit SpA (CRDI.MI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), both sitting on the company's board, along with Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Credit Agricole's (CAGR.PA) CLSA brokerage as joint bookrunners and global coordinators of the IPO.
(Additional reporting by Antonella Ciancio and Massimo Gaia; Editing by Chris Lewis, Will Waterman and David Hulmes)