By  on June 28, 2006

RICCIONE, Italy — As Sixty Group unveils a boutique hotel in this touristy beach town, co-founders Wichy Hassan and Renato Rossi are pondering the future of their company and whether or not to take it public.

"There's a lot of interest in the markets pushing a company like ours to go public," Rossi said in an interview from one of the hotel's rooms overlooking a busy shopping strip. "[An initial public offering] is probably something that we'll end up doing, but not…tomorrow morning."

Rossi, managing director at Sixty, said it will be at least two years before a possible IPO. Slightly resistant to the financial obligations involved with running a public company, he and president and creative director Hassan aren't ready to commit to the stock market just yet.

"We don't want to transform our work into a question of [quarterly growth] and work for the stock market. This is our fear," Rossi said of Sixty, which owns the Miss Sixty brand and more than a dozen other labels, such as Killah and men's wear brand Energie.

Regardless, Rossi and Hassan are working to bolster their company in terms of both image and sales. In July, the Sixty hotel in Riccione will officially open and serve as a barometer for a potential chain. The company also is investing 20 million euros, or $25.2 million at current exchange, to roll out 30 stores this year as it mulls possible acquisitions. Last week, the pair took home an image award from trade organization Pitti Immagine in Florence.

The two soft-spoken men, who bear a striking resemblance to each other both physically and in their laid-back demeanor, have worked together for about 17 years, first launching Energie and later breaking into women's wear with the Miss Sixty line in 1991. Now the two are entering an entirely new business, that of hospitality.

Hassan, who led the hotel's design team, said he wanted to create a place where Miss Sixty and Energie target customers would want to stay. The tech-savvy also can chat using the computer and Webcam installed in each of the hotel's 40 rooms, which run from 120 euros, or $151, to 180 euros, or $226, a night.

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