MILAN — Prada SpA denied a newspaper report Thursday that it had set a date for its proposed initial public offering.

The Wall Street Journal said the luxury goods group was scheduled to list on the Milan Stock Exchange in the second half of June, citing a person familiar with the deal.

But a Prada spokesman rebuffed that suggestion. “We haven’t fixed any date for the IPO,” the spokesman said. “Work has begun with our advisers and global coordinators. A decision will be taken in due course.”

The company, which owns the Prada, Miu Miu, Car Shoe and Church brands, said in December that it planned to float in 2008, subject to market conditions, and named as its banks Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and UniCredit SpA and Goldman Sachs & Co. Some 30 to 40 percent of the group is expected to go public.

Industry sources valued Prada at an estimated 4 billion to 5 billion euros, or $5.91 billion to $7.39 billion at current exchange.

A source close to the placement told WWD Thursday that June was a possible date for the listing, when Prada could tout its 2007 results to investors, but that September or October was another option after the company’s 2008 half-year results.

He said he did not expect Prada to make any decision for another two months, when market conditions were more understandable, following full-year reporting by banks. “It’s too premature at the moment,” he said.

Competitor Ferragamo SpA is also planning an IPO this year. Italian news daily Il Sole 24 Ore said the group had tapped Mediobanca and J.P. Morgan as global coordinators and UBS as joint book-runner on the deal.

A Ferragamo company spokesman declined to comment on the speculation Thursday.

Prada, which is 95 percent owned by the Prada family, has pulled the plug on its IPO three times in the last seven years, citing market volatility.

A Prada spokesman said in December that the company was in perfect condition to list this year, referencing a track record of solid sales and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization growth over the last three years and a strong internal management team. He added that Prada sales were in line to grow at least 20 percent in 2007.

This story first appeared in the January 18, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

However, slumping luxury stocks and concerns over consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe may force Prada to reconsider once again.

Bulgari SpA has shed 34 percent of its market value in the last six months, closing at 7.79 euros, or $11.52, on Thursday.

Aeffe SpA and Damiani SpA, which listed on the Milan Stock Exchange STAR segment for small companies in July and November respectively, are trading at a fraction of their initial IPO prices.

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