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Hardy Amies Plans January Offering

Hardy Amies, the Savile Row couture house, plans an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange by the end of next month.

LONDON — Hardy Amies, the Savile Row couture house founded in 1945, is planning an initial public offering on London’s AIM market by the end of January.

Tim Maltin, chairman and chief executive officer of Hardy Amies, said the company has already raised $4.9 million, or 2.5 million pounds (all figures are converted from the pound at current exchange), ahead of the offering, and that the money from the IPO would be used “to continue to rebuild the name of Hardy Amies.”

One-hundred percent of Hardy Amies is traded on OFEX, London’s junior market, and the shares will now be upgraded to AIM, the middle market.

In addition, Hardy Amies this week announced it signed a licensing deal with Stuncroft Brands Ltd. for the manufacture and distribution of a men’s ready-to-wear line. The deal foresees guaranteed minimum sales of as much as $1.5 million, or 750,000 pounds, in the first three years.

The line, which will bow for fall 2005, is destined for the U.K. market initially, but the company hopes to begin selling abroad, including the U.S., starting next year.

The strategy is hardly a new one for the house of Hardy Amies. Amies, who died in March 2003, originally built a major licensed men’s wear business worldwide, although he is probably best remembered as Queen Elizabeth’s couturier.

Maltin said Hardy Amies is seeking a partner to forge a similar women’s ready-to-wear license over the next six months. In addition, the company has developed a fragrance with the London-based perfumer Roja Dove, and is on the hunt for a new fragrance partner.

“We are, on the one hand, a couture house, and on the other, an intelligent licensing operation,” said Maltin. “And these deals lie at the heart of our expansion strategy.”

Other current licenses include small leather accessories and men’s wear and women’s wear for the Far Eastern markets. Sales at Hardy Amies, including turnover from licenses, are currently $39 million, or 20 million pounds.

Two years before his death, Amies sold his company for an undisclosed sum to the then Cardington Group plc, which has since been renamed Luxury Brands Group. Luxury Brands Group floated the company on OFEX in May 2001.