Valentino RTW Spring 2018

MILANValentino Fashion Group has the most potential to publicly list, according to Pambianco Strategie di Impresa.

In the 12th edition of the Milan-based consultancy’s 2017 ranking of the “listable” companies in fashion, design and beauty, for the first time Valentino Fashion Group held the top spot, followed by Giorgio Armani. The two swapped ranking as Armani’s company was positioned as number one four years in a row.

In November, as news of emerged of  Sebastian Suhl joining Valentino as the new managing director of global markets starting in January, sources in Milan said the company could be looking at the second half of 2018 for a listing. Valentino’s owner, Qatar-based fund Mayhoola, has expressed interest in an IPO and chief executive officer Stefano Sassi in March said the company was going to “see what happens in 2018. We’ve shelved it because of market conditions. If things change, we’ll review [the project].”

On the other hand, Armani has waved away the possibility of listing his company and in 2016 set up a foundation in his name to ensure the future of his group.

“The aim of the research is to identify those companies with the prerequisites to launch an IPO in the next three to five years, regardless of whether a listing is even in the plans of the firm,” said president Carlo Pambianco. The goal is to fuel the interest of Italian companies in the capital markets.

Valentino and Armani were followed by Dolce & Gabbana, which moved up from the fifth position last year.

Pambianco’s research was done in partnership with Ernst & Young. “In 2016, the personal luxury goods market reached sales of 318 billion euros and it is expected to grow by 3.6 percent over the next three years,” said Roberto Bonacina, partner at EY TAS Fashion & Luxury. “The premium and entry-to-luxury segment continues to be the most appealing, led by the growing middle class in emerging countries, by the consumers’ trend to mix and match brands and styles, an increasing casualization in fashion and the growing awareness of consumers looking for a concrete correspondence between price and value. The growth sector is reflected also by the performance of the financial markets, where luxury continues to have gain more than the market.”

The study researched 50 top companies in fashion and luxury and 25 in furniture and design. Ceo David Pambianco explained that the consultancy takes into consideration the balance sheets of around 250 companies in each of the three sectors with sales totaling more than 50 million euros in the year considered. Other criteria include the growth in percentage and profitability in the previous three years, the global notoriety of the brand, and parameters ranging from retail and indebtedness among others.

Golden Goose jumped to spot number four from nine, and Gianvito Rossi, through his company GGR Srl, shot up to number five from 31. The Ermenegildo Zegna group went from third to the sixth spot, while Calzedonia went from eight to seven. Gianni Versace went from fourth to eighth. An IPO at the Milan-based firm, now led by ceo Jonathan Akeroyd, has been put on hold. Max Mara climbed to spot number nine from 13. Giuseppe Zanotti was positioned at number nine from six, while Furla was stable at number 11. Diesel parent company OTB, which is reorganizing its denim brand, ranked 26th from 17th and Etro 17th from 14th.

A number of companies made the list for the first time, such as O Bag (15th) and Sodalis (beauty and cosmetics brands Tesori d’Oriente and Bionike in 30th position). The fastest growth was connected to the luxury beauty sector which for the first time was listed with a special mention. Kiko ranked first in this sector.

Cristina Pigni, a partner at EY, said 2017 saw an increasing number of IPOs globally and nationally. “The outlook for 2018 is surely very positive” she noted.  Companies that are more interesting to investors are those that have “high innovation expressing the made in Italy and expanding strongly in different areas. Fashion companies surely reflect these characteristics.”