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Moleskine Shares Slip on Debut

Despite Italy’s current political instability and market volatility, the iconic notebook brand has pushed forward with its public listing.

MILAN — Despite Italy’s current political instability and market volatility, iconic notebook brand Moleskine has pushed forward with its public listing, making its debut on the Milan Stock Exchange on Wednesday in what many here view as a barometer for other potential initial public offerings.

Moleskine is the first company to go public here after Brunello Cucinelli SpA in April last year. Moncler shelved its IPO in summer 2011, but chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini has repeatedly said that a listing remains the company’s goal — an objective confirmed last month as parent company investment firm Eurazeo identified this as the most likely exit method either at the end of this year or in early 2014. Pianoforte Holding — which comprises fast-fashion accessories brand Carpisa, innerwear and beachwear brand Yamamay and swimwear brand Jaked — may list its shares in 2015. Men’s wear group Stefano Ricci is also eyeing a stock-market flotation down the road, as was Pomellato until rumors about Kering (formerly known as PPR) taking a stake in the Italian jewelry firm became more insistent.

Moleskine’s opening share price was set at 2.30 euros, or $2.95 at current exchange, and after reaching its peak at 2.39 euros, or $3.06, in early morning trading, shares closed down 0.87 percent at 2.28 euros, or $2.92.

Wednesday was a day of retreat, marking Italy’s struggles with its political maelstrom, as the FTSE MIB closed down 2.28 percent to 15,200.30 and the FTSE Italia STAR segment closed down 0.42 percent to 12,213.10.

The line of notebooks with the black cover favored by writers Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin went public on the STAR segment for companies with a capitalization between 40 million and 1 billion euros, or $51.3 million and $1.29 billion. Through the IPO, Moleskine’s capitalization totaled 487.6 million euros, or $626.2 million.

Syntegra Capital, a European-based private equity firm, bought a majority stake in Moleskine in 2006.

Raffaele Jerusalmi, ceo of Borsa Italiana, said, “The success of this IPO confirms the role of leadership of Borsa Italiana at a global level in the sector of luxury and lifestyle. We hope the listing will help Moleskine continue its growth projects and allow it to maintain and grow its positioning at an international level.”