By  on July 30, 2014

MILAN — Italian private equity firm Clessidra SGR has inked an agreement to take a 35 percent stake in Harmont & Blaine SpA through a capital increase, with the goal of supporting the Italian fashion brand’s international growth. The two companies had entered into exclusive negotiations in March.

Harmont & Blaine president Domenico Menniti said that, in accordance with his partners Enzo Menniti and Paolo and Massimo Montefusco, he believed Clessidra shared “a common strategy to develop the company. With this agreement, we set the foundations for the start of an international growth that will consolidate the Harmont & Blaine brand globally.”

The Menniti family intends to maintain control of the privately held fashion company. With the help of a partner, the plan is to invest about 80 million euros, or $111.2 million at current exchange, over the next three years, and reach sales of about 200 million euros, or $278.1 million, prior to an initial public offering in the first half of 2017.

Counting 69 stores in Italy and 70 monobrand boutiques outside Italy, Harmont & Blaine is available in 54 countries, with a strong foothold in the Middle East, Russia, Central America and Mediterranean Europe. The brand is carried in more than 1,500 stores worldwide. With the help of Clessidra, the goal is to grow in Asia, in continental Europe and in North, Central and South America.

In April, Clessidra tapped Francesco Trapani as executive vice chairman; he also became a shareholder and operating partner. Previously he was chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s watches and jewelry division. Last year, Clessidra bought a 70 percent stake in Milanese jewelry firm Buccellati.

Harmont & Blaine’s strategy mirrors that of Versace, which in February sold a 20 percent stake to Blackstone Group with the goal to fully develop the brand around the world and publicly list the Milan-based firm in three to five years.

In 2013, Harmont & Blaine’s net profits more than doubled, reaching 4.9 million euros, or $6.4 million, up 157.8 percent from 1.9 million euros, or $2.4 million, in the previous year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 24.7 percent to 13.1 million euros, or $17.3 million.

Revenues climbed 17.7 percent to 71 million euros, or $93.7 million, compared with 60.3 million euros, or $77.2 million, in 2012.

Dollar amounts have been converted at average exchange for the periods to which they refer.

Men’s wear is the core business of the label, which is recognizable for its trademark dachshund logo and its stylish preppy looks.

Harmont & Blaine, which is based in Caivano, on the outskirts of Naples, has more than 500 direct employees and more than 1,000 indirect ones.

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