New owners plot listing for Italian hat maker Borsalino

MILAN (Reuters) - The new owners of Italy’s Borsalino will “most probably” list the venerable hat maker, known for its stylish fedoras and straw panamas, as part of a radical revamp of the group.

Borsalino hats are seen in the showroom of the factory in Alessandria, Italy, May 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

Haeres Equita, a group of investors led by Swiss-Italian financier Philippe Camperio, bought full ownership of Borsalino for 6.4 million euros ($7.4 million) at a court auction on Thursday, the last step in a long liquidation process.

Camperio said that the group would consider injecting further funds into the company in the future through a listing, giving current investors a chance to sell their stakes.

“We are aiming at the Milan and London markets,” Camperio told reporters.

Camperio did not disclose how much would be invested but said that Haeres Equita planned to increase production fivefold over the next five years. Borsalino currently produces 150,000 hats per year.

The new owners aim to boost the presence in foreign markets, in particular Japan and the U.S., while reducing the dependence on Italy, which accounts for half of the group’s sales.

Borsalino will open one new shop annually as well as push online sales, now some 5 percent of the total. They added the first new shop would be in New York, likely by the end of 2019.

The company has nine stores, one of which is fully owned.

Camperio said the hat maker would focus on products for ladies and children -- two fast growing segments in the high-end market.

The buyers had been managing the company since the end of 2015 and have already started relaunching a business which in the past lacked funds and the managerial skills needed to compete.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Keith Weir