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Harmont & Blaine in Investment Talks

The brand has entered into exclusive negotiations with Italian private equity firm Clessidra SGR.

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MILAN — Harmont & Blaine SpA has entered into exclusive negotiations with Italian private equity firm Clessidra SGR, selecting it as a potential  partner to help support and accelerate its retail expansion around the world with the aim of going for an initial public offering in the first half of 2017.

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. Last week, Peuterey Group said it was seeking a partner for international growth.

“We have identified a fund that we believe is right to support Harmont & Blaine’s growth plan,” said chief executive officer Domenico Menniti. Through a capital increase, the Menniti family intends to maintain control of the privately held fashion company. With the help of a partner, the plan is to invest around 80 million euros, or $111.2 million at current exchange, over the next three years, and reach sales of around 200 million euros, or $278.1 million, prior to an IPO in the first half of 2017. WWD reported Menniti had tapped UBS in September to assist the firm with its plans.

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.

With the potential help of Clessidra, which in March of last year took control of jewelry firm Buccellati Group, Harmont & Blaine plans to accelerate and consolidate growth outside Italy with the goal to “significantly increase” revenues in the next three years and be more competitive internationally, with a greater balance between sales in Italy and abroad.

The three-year investments are mainly aimed at a retail expansion. This year, three boutiques are expected to open in Moscow and Harmont & Blaine will double its units in Baku, Azerbaijan and Casabalanca and invest in Central and South America, opening stores at the international airport in Mexico City, Querétaro, Cancun, St. Barth’s, Bogota and Aruba. Openings are also slated for Athens, Bucharest and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

There are 69 stores in Italy and 70 additional units around the world. The brand is carried in more than 1,500 stores worldwide.

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 employees.

In June 2009, the first Harmont & Blaine Café opened in Sardinia’s luxury resort Porto Rotondo.

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