(Recasts with Eurazeo comment)
By Valentina Za and Marc Angrand
MILAN/PARIS, June 20 (Reuters) - Moncler’s biggest independent shareholder has stressed its long-term commitment to the upmarket clothing brand, after fellow investor Carlyle cashed in on the strong post-flotation gain in the stock and sold its entire holding.
French investment firm Eurazeo, which retained a 23.3 percent stake in Moncler after selling part of its holding in the company’s December float, said on Friday it remained a long-term shareholder in the group led by Remo Ruffini, who bought the brand in 2003.
“Eurazeo ... reaffirms its confidence and support to Moncler’s management to implement its growth and development strategy,” it said in a note.
Shares of Moncler, which started life as a ski jacket maker in the French Alps in 1952, had attracted strong demand among investors convinced of the durable appeal of its brand and its shares surged to a peak of 16.6 euros early this year, though they have lost ground since then.
Carlyle said it had sold its 7.13 percent stake for 215 million euros ($293 million) or 12.04 euros per share, a 0.5 percent discount to the stock’s closing price on Thursday but still a healthy premium to its flotation price of 10.2 euros.
The sale came after the expiry of a 180-day lock-up period during which time three top shareholders - Carlyle’s CEP III vehicle, Brands Partners and a vehicle owned by Eurazeo - could not sell their residual holdings in Moncler.
Carlyle said Eurazeo had agreed to a further 90 day lockup on its 23.3 percent stake in the maker of $1,200 goose down jackets, where Ruffini is the biggest shareholder with 32 percent.
By 0951 GMT shares in Moncler, which last month reported a 16 percent rise in first-quarter revenue, were down 0.8 percent at 11.96 euros, against a 0.3 percent fall in the FTSE MIB index.
CEP III sold its Moncler stake through an accelerated bookbuilding procedure with UBS acting as sole bookrunner and Rothschild as adviser. ($1 = 0.7336 Euros) (Editing by Jane Merriman and David Holmes)