By  on June 19, 2007

MILAN — Italy’s Clothing Company, the parent company of Belstaff, is planning to go public.

“It’s a path that will allow us to generate new capital and at the same time maintain a certain level of independence,” Franco Malenotti, Clothing Company’s founder and president, told DNR in an interview. Still he stressed that an IPO isn’t imminent and won’t take place for at least another year.

Family-owned Clothing Company, based near Venice, joins a growing list of fashion and luxury goods companies heading to the stock market. Aeffe SpA, the parent of Alberta Ferretti, Pollini and Moschino, is going public this summer while jeweler Damiani SpA recently announced its stock market aspirations. Salvatore Ferragamo and Prada are both planning listings. Gianni Versace might pursue an IPO as well.

Malenotti said that Clothing Company, which owns the Belstaff, Capalbio and Black Prince brands, saw its 2006 sales rise 40 percent to 70 million euros, or $93.1 million. Based on the company’s current order book, 2007 sales should grow 33 percent to 93 million euros, or $123.7 million, he said.

Recently the company invested 15 million euros, or $20 million, in a new 24-hour automated logistical hub, speeding up its delivery times. It has also set up a new U.S. subsidiary to oversee the American market. Malenotti said the company’s next challenge will be to penetrate new markets like China, South America and Russia.

Over the last few years, the company has focused on evolving Belstaff past its motorcycle and outerwear heritage into a hot Hollywood brand through product placement initiatives and sponsorships.

Stars like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise have all worn Belstaff jackets in character. Miramax used a number of Belstaff styles for 2004’s “The Aviator,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Just last week, Belstaff was one of the corporate sponsors for the “Ocean’s Thirteen” premiere at Hollywood’s Grauman's Chinese Theater.

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