MILAN — With the selection of four advisers, the initial public offering of OVS is taking shape and expected by the end of the year. The Italian mass-market retailer has chosen Banca IMI, UniCredit, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise on a public listing in Milan.
Parent company Gruppo Coin is slated to spin off OVS between August and September as a step toward the IPO.
In April, chief executive officer Stefano Beraldo said Gruppo Coin, controlled by private equity fund BC Partners, was evaluating the possibility of spinning off the group’s OVS and Upim chains for a public listing. BC Partners took control of the group, which also includes the Coin and upscale Excelsior banners, in 2011, delisting it in the second half of that year.
Gruppo Coin, which is the largest clothing retailer in Italy, last year reported sales of 1.66 billion euros, or $2.2 billion at average exchange, up 0.6 percent compared with 2012.
OVS has been positioning itself as a trendier fast-fashion destination, focusing on a more stylish and higher-quality lineup to tackle Italy’s lackluster economy and competition from mass-market powerhouses such as Zara and H&M.
The firm has been streamlining costs, bringing back to Italy a part of its manufacturing and closely controlling its production abroad.
OVS has also bolstered its design team with two new hires, Caterina Salvador and Marco Mazzoran, overseeing women’s and men’s wear, respectively. Both come from luxury backgrounds and are working to create collections that are fashion-forward and well made, but remain within an affordable price range.
OVS has about 592 stores in Italy and 133 abroad. In 2013, net sales totaled 953 million euros, or about $1.3 billion at current exchange.