By  on February 19, 2008

MILAN — Despite a nervous stock market, Prada SpA is still set on going public this year.

A Prada spokesman said Sunday the company planned to list on the Milan Stock Exchange in either June or November, pending the outcome of consultations with advisers and due diligence analysis. He added no decision would be taken until at least March, when Prada reports 2007 earnings.

"We don't have to decide tomorrow," the spokesman told WWD.

The Milan-based fashion group, which owns the Prada, Miu Miu, Car Shoe and Church's brands, said in December 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 be floated.

Industry sources valued Prada at an estimated 4 billion to 5 billion euros, or $5.85 billion to $7.31 billion at current rates of exchange.

Competitor Ferragamo SpA is also planning an initial public offering this year and has reportedly tapped Mediobanca and J.P. Morgan as global coordinators and UBS as joint book-runner on the deal. Ferragamo chief executive officer Michele Norsa told WWD last week the Florentine luxury group was going ahead with preparations for a listing. (For more on Ferragamo, see opposite page.)

Speculation has been mounting that the slowdown in consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe and sliding luxury goods stocks could deter both companies from floating — particularly Prada.

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 unfavorable market conditions. Luxury goods stocks listed in Milan have lost on average one-third of their value in the last three months on fears of a bleaker economic outlook.

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

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