March 20, 2019 / 7:52 AM / a month ago

French investment group Eurazeo sells stake in Italy's Moncler

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Moncler is seen in a shop in downtown Rome, Italy February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French investment group Eurazeo (EURA.PA) has sold its entire stake in Italian luxury clothes company Moncler (MONC.MI) for around 445 million euros ($505 million).

Eurazeo said on Wednesday it sold just over 12 million Moncler shares - representing around 4.8 percent of Moncler’s share capital - at 36.50 euros per share, compared with Moncler’s closing stock price of 37.05 euros on March 19.

Moncler shares had risen steadily in recent weeks and closed at 37.05 euros on Tuesday, up more than 40 percent from a 10-month low of 26.07 euros set in mid December. Eurazeo’s stake was sold via an accelerated bookbuild to a selection of unnamed institutional investors.

Eurazeo first bought a stake in Moncler, which was founded in the French Alps in 1952, in 2011.

Eurazeo said its eight-year investment in Moncler had generated proceeds of 1.4 billion euros and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 43 percent, but it gave no reason for the decision to sell.

“Eurazeo’s long-term outlook, its very clear strategic vision and its international reach have been of huge value to us,” said Moncler company head Remo Ruffini in a statement.

Last month, Moncler forecast more growth in 2019 after a new product strategy based on faster-paced collections helped produce a 19 percent increase in annual sales and boosted profitability.

Investment banks Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Lazard all worked on Eurazeo’s stake sale.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Louise Heavens and David Holmes

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