MILAN — Could an IPO be in the cards for Liu Jo once again?
EIH Eccellenze Italiane is strengthening its managerial structure, and Liu Jo, the fashion brand controlled by the Italian group, has hired Paola Durante as general manager. This is a new position for Liu Jo, which signals a consolidation of the business and a strengthening of the brand.
Durante is a well-respected figure in the industry and joins Liu Jo from Moncler SpA, where she held the position of director of investor relations and strategic planning after a long stint at BofA Merrill Lynch, serving as managing director.
“We have concretely thought of the future of Liu Jo and the additional steps we want to take,” said Marco Marchi, founder of EIH. “Hence the decision to open up to a new professional figure for our company, who will be able to bring new life and energy to a successful business model.”
Touting Durante’s expertise, Marchi said “our team is strengthened with the arrival of a high-profile professional who will bring added value and vision to the future of Liu Jo.”
The Eccellenze Italiane conglomerate aims to boost the visibility and business of Italian small and medium-sized companies on the global scene and in 2019, ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marchi said the final goal for Eccellenze Italiane was an IPO. Marchi planned a listing of the Liu Jo company in 2018, a project that the entrepreneur has said was postponed because of unfavorable market conditions.
Durante’s arrival from a publicly listed company such as Moncler may signal a renewed interest in an IPO for Liu Jo, which closed 2021 with sales of more than 400 million euros. To be sure, in a statement, the company hinted at “a new growth path that will allow to expand and further consolidate its presence at a national and international level.”
Liu Jo SpA was founded in 1995 in Carpi, Italy, outside Modena, a storied knitwear hub in the Emilia Romagna region, and the brand spans ready-to-wear, bags, shoes and accessories, in addition to jewelry, furniture, fragrances and eyewear licenses.
Liu Jo products are available in 48 countries through some 510 stores and 6,200 multibrand points of sale.
Marchi launched the Eccellenze Italiane project and in November 2019 acquired the Gruppo Blufin and its brands Blumarine, Blugirl, Anna Molinari and Be Blumarine from the founding Tarabini family. In the first phase of the relaunch of the company, also based in Carpi, Marchi put the focus on Blumarine, hiring a new creative director, Nicola Brognano, who succeeded Anna Molinari, and reorganized its distribution.
The deal followed an acquisition by Eccellenze Italiane in the fall of 2019 of a 15 percent stake in Italian retailer Coin SpA, which operates 40 flagships in Italy and 100 stores under the Coincasa banner in the country and abroad.