MILAN — Some rumors are die-hard.
Salvatore Ferragamo shares closed up 8.7 percent at 13.58 euros on Wednesday on the Italian Stock Exchange on the latest report, this time by Reuters, that the Florence-based company was eyeing a sale of a minority stake. Clearly, some investors were willing to bank on the rumor, as shares earlier in the day rose as much as 11 percent and were briefly suspended from trading.
The Ferragamo family “categorically” denied through a spokesperson that it had talked to investors to explore a sale or that it even had informal contacts to this end, reiterating it has no intention to sell.
Reuters also speculated that bank and private equity sources had made contact with chairman Ferruccio Ferragamo after the summer about a potential sale of about 20 percent of the Ferragamo Finanziaria holding, which controls the company with a 54.3 percent stake.
Ferruccio Ferragamo on Wednesday also firmly denied any informal meeting with investors to sell shares in the company.
Sources told Reuters the family has explored talks with Qatar Investment Authority and Singapore sovereign wealth funds GIC and Temasek, which in 2016 became a shareholder of Ruffini Partecipazioni, which controls Moncler.
Rumors about a possible Ferragamo sale have been circulating for years and were always denied by the family. They further mounted after the death in October 2018 of Wanda Ferragamo, wife of the late namesake founder of the company.
In addition to Ferragamo Finanziaria, Hong Kong tycoon Peter Woo’s MHL has a 6 percent stake and Ferragamo family members have a further 10.7 percent. Given the complicated web of family heirs, sources here have for years speculated about a possible divestiture of some of them and their desire to cash out.
In May, Ferragamo shares also rose following the unexpected news that Michele Norsa was returning to the Florence-based luxury company as director of the board and executive deputy chairman.
Micaela le Divelec Lemmi, chief executive officer, has been spearheading a turnaround of the company, which has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Norsa is a partner in FSI, which in 2018 took a 41.2 percent stake in Missoni, and this link was seen by analysts as possibly opening up new scenarios, including a sale to FSI.
Last month, the company reported that the impact of the the lockdown enforced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic had dragged down its top and bottom lines in the first half of the year. In the period ended June 30, Ferragamo posted a net loss of 86 million euros, including a minority interest, which compares with a profit of 60 million euros in the same period last year.
Revenues fell 46.6 percent to 377 million euros, compared with 705 million euros at the end of June last year. In the second quarter, however, Ferragamo saw signs of an uptick in the performance, with the retail channel in China recovering and recording revenue growth of 11.6 percent at constant exchange rates, as it did in South Korea.