* Down jackets to remain the foundation of the business
* Carlyle to retain half of stake
MILAN, Dec 2 (Reuters) - 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.