A Salvatore Ferragamo store.

MILAN – Salvatore Ferragamo shares on Wednesday closed up 4.07 percent at 20.98 euros after spiking as much as 5 percent in early morning trading after a Mergermarket report that speculated the Italian luxury goods group was in talks with a private equity fund to consider a sale or a delisting.

Responding to the rumors, a spokeswoman said the Ferragamo family “is not interested in selling and there is nothing on the table.”

According to Mergermarket, which based its report on sources, the Ferragamos have “been approached by several private equity funds” to “assess strategic options.” The source also said “sale talks with a large private equity firm are ongoing.”

This is not the first time the Ferragamo family has had to issue such a denial. Rumors about a possible divestiture have been ongoing for some time now, reflecting a slowdown of the company’s performance and changes at both the design and executive levels.

“To sell is out of the question,” said chairman Ferruccio Ferragamo in March. “We love the company too much.”

At the end of July, the group appointed former Gucci executive Micaela le Divelec Lemmi as the new chief executive officer, as it reported a 23.1 percent drop in net profit in the first half of the year to 59 million euros, compared with 76 million euros in the same period last year, including a negative minority interest of 2 million euros. In the period, revenues decreased 6.2 percent to 674 million euros, compared with 718 million euros at the end of June 2017.

At the same time, the company said that sales, margins and results for the full year 2018 “are expected to be negatively impacted by the current currencies trends, by the enduring unfavorable retail channel mix and by the difficult wholesale environment.”

Rumors about the Florence-based company’s future went into overdrive in June, when parent company Ferragamo Finanziaria SpA trimmed its stake, selling 3.5 percent of the fashion house, causing shares to tumble. During a conference call with analysts commenting on first-half results, Ferruccio Ferragamo explained: “It’s business, but we are in love with the company that my father started more than 90 years ago. The family is very much committed, the holding had 57 percent; we decided to sell 3.5 percent because we had often received complaints that the floating was too small.”

Ferragamo Finanziaria now holds 54.3 percent of the company and the chairman said: “We are still in control but it’s more liquid and we needed to reorganize family aspects, nothing has changed within the family, it was very natural to do that.”  (The sale came two months after the death of his sister Fulvia Visconti Ferragamo.)

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