Furla's Pacific Fair flagship

MILAN — Furla has bought 100 percent of its Australian distribution from partner Luxury Retail Group.

The Italian accessories company now directly controls its business in the region and has plans to further strengthen its presence in Australia and New Zealand.

“The Australian market is very important for Furla and crucial in our expansion plan,” said Furla chief executive officer Alberto Camerlengo. “Since 2013, Luxury Retail Group has been the best key partner to work with as it perfectly embodies the Furla vision, values and DNA: This is the reason why the two LRG directors will remain as board members of Furla Australia. We expect that in 2017 the Australian business will represent 5 percent of global revenues.” Camerlengo said the company aimed to boost its distribution in the region “given the success of the Furla retail strategy and the very positive response of Australian customers.”

Furla opened its first boutique in Australia in December 2013 at the Westfield Sydney, which will be expanded this year. The brand today is present with 15 units in key locations such as Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast. It is also available through its online store.

In 2017, Furla plans to open five stores in Australia, including the first in Auckland, New Zealand. By the end of the year, the network will comprise 20 stores.

Nelson Mair, managing director of Luxury Retail Group, said “the timing makes sense for Furla to reacquire its distribution. After having achieved a 95 percent sales growth in 2016, this vertical integration of Furla Australia will better equip the business for the next phase of its growth.”

Furla is directly present in 100 countries with 444 boutiques, and the brand is available at 1,200 points of sale globally.

As reported, the company last year registered a 24.5 percent increase in revenues, which totaled 422 million euros, or $464.2 million at average exchange rates. Profits were not disclosed, but earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization climbed 48 percent in 2016.

Sales were balanced across countries and distribution channels. In 2016, the Asia-Pacific region posted a 28.3 percent gain and represented 19 percent of the total. Japan continued to be Furla’s main market, and sales in the region gained 31.7 percent, representing 24 percent of the total. Revenues in Italy rose 18 percent and accounted for 20 percent of total sales. Sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, excluding Italy, represented 29 percent of the total and were up 23.5 percent. Revenues in the U.S. climbed 16.3 percent and accounted for 8 percent of the total.

Retail sales last year accounted for 64 percent of total revenues.

Last May, after years of speculation, Furla said it had set in motion plans to go public, inking an agreement with Tamburi Investment Partners SpA. The Marzotto, Loro Piana and Ferragamo families are among the investors in TIP, which also has stakes in Hugo Boss and Ferrari. In 2013, TIP invested in Remo Ruffini’s holding company, Ruffini Partecipazioni, indirectly buying a stake in Moncler, which went public at the end of 2013.

Giovanni Tamburi, president and ceo of TIP and one of Italy’s highest-profile investors, said the plan was to invest 15 million euros, or $16 million, to issue a convertible loan for the capital increase, which will be automatically swapped into Furla shares at the future listing. TIP is committed to underwrite an additional 15 million euros on the day of the listing at the same economic conditions offered to the market. A further quota of shares will be allotted to TIP and sources estimate another 15 million euros to 30 million euros, or $16 million to $32 million, will be paid then.

Giovanna Furlanetto, president of Furla, in February said the company is in “no rush” to go public, having “no need of support to grow financially,” and due to the lack of clarity on the markets, “so the listing may be pushed back.” Tamburi had tentatively set the IPO for 2018, depending on market conditions.

Furla marks its 90th anniversary this year.

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