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MILAN — Italia Independent Group SpA will make its debut on the AIM Italia Alternative Capital Market, a segment of the Italian Stock Exchange for small and medium-size companies, on Friday. The company, controlled by Lapo Elkann, will list 27 percent of its total shares, priced at 26 euros ($33.65), with a market capitalization of 60 million euros, or $77.7 million at current exchange.
This story first appeared in the June 27, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“This is not merely a starting point but a signal of serenity,” chief executive officer Andrea Tessitore, who founded the company with Elkann seven years ago, told WWD. “We have ambitious plans, and the path to the listing has been a very formative experience for our team. In structuring the company, we’ve all grown together, with an enormous effort,” explained the executive, adding he felt “proud and happy.”
The offer was oversubscribed three times, counting 40 percent of investors from abroad.
Tessitore put the spotlight on what this initial public offering marks. “It shows that even a small firm, with a well-prepared management and clear ideas, can attract investors from all over the world. It’s not true that investors from outside Italy don’t want to invest in our country, but they set the bar higher, they need to be reassured that a plan will be brought to execution,” said Tessitore.
He admitted that during the road show, in cities such as Paris, London and Geneva, the size of Italia Independent was eyed critically, but Tessitore noted that the listing shows that small and medium-size companies “don’t necessarily have to be indebted or undercapitalized. With ideas and [the right] products, you can grow. It’s hard to believe that this company did not exist seven years ago, that it posted sales of 5 million euros [$6.5 million] in 2010 and 15 million euros [$19.2 million] last year.”
The company has said it plans to hit 30 million euros, or $39 million, in sales by 2015.
Italia Independent offers men’s apparel and has collaborations with Vertu phones; Borsalino hats; Smeg kitchen appliances, and Ferrari for a tailor-made service, among others. Eyewear remains a key focus for Elkann, whose brand offers 200,000 customized variations of five models. Last week, Elkann, a Fiat heir known for his style and eccentric sense of fashion, unveiled a made-to-measure capsule collection designed with Gucci’s Frida Giannini for the Italian luxury brand.
The Italia Independent IPO comes at a time when the fashion industry has seen a spate of action. Moncler is reported to be looking at an IPO again, after the successful listings of Brunello Cucinelli SpA in April last year and Prada SpA and Salvatore Ferragamo SpA the year before. Despite Italy’s market volatility, Moleskine launched an IPO in April, although its shares have hit a few bumps since then, compared with Cucinelli’s and Ferragamo’s upward trajectories. In the U.S. Neiman Marcus filed for an IPO earlier this week.
The admission of Italia Independent arrived after an institutional placement of 525,000 shares — 425,000 from the company’s capital increase and 100,000 offered for sale by the company’s current shareholders. The latter also intend to give the joint global coordinators an option to buy up to 78,750 shares, equal to 15 percent of the shares, in an over-allotment option to be exercised fully or in part within 30 days from the first day of trading.