UPDATE 1-Prada appoints banks for IPO, aims for 2008

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MILAN, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Italian luxury goods house Prada said it had started its long-awaited listing process and appointed Banca IMI ISP.MI, UBM CRDI.MI and Goldman Sachs GS.N as global coordinators and book runners.

Prada, which in the past has ditched listing attempts due to volatile markets, said the initial public offer should go ahead in 2008, “depending on market conditions”.

Intesa Sanpaolo, which owns Banca IMI, bought 5 percent of the company through a capital increase of 100 million euros in 2006, valuing the entire company at 2 billion euros.

Mediobanca MDBI.MI will be financial adviser to the deal, a financial source told Reuters. Law firm Bonelli Erede Pappalardo will act as legal adviser, Prada's statement said.

Prada, whose designer Miuccia Prada is known for her trend-setting and often offbeat designs, said nearly a year ago it could look at a listing in 2008.

Luxury goods companies have seen a surge in their earnings multiples during the extended economic boom, with unprecedented demand for high-end, high-margin goods, but capital markets are trickier now that the credit crunch and falling house prices are beginning to dent consumer morale.

Still, fashion executives insist undinted demand from newly middle class shoppers in China, Russia and India will more than counter any sag in U.S or European sales.

The company, one of Italy’s best-known fashion names, designs womenswear, menswear and accessories, and leapt to fame with its trademark black bags.

It is almost exclusively owned by Miuccia Prada, her partner Patrizio Bertelli and members of their family.

The company, which launched a mobile phone with South Korea's LG Electronics 066570.KS in January, has said it plans growth in markets such as Europe, the United States or Japan rather than branching out into hotels or bars as rivals such as Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana have done. (Reporting by Jo Winterbottom, editing by Will Waterman)