MILAN ­— Initial public offerings are taking over as this season’s must-have in Italy, as Brunello Cucinelli revealed it is the latest Italian company to be tempted by the stock market.

This story first appeared in the May 6, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Prada, Moncler and Ferragamo IPOs are expected to take place in the first half of the year, and founder Brunello Cucinelli said he is toying with the idea of a stock market listing, but that it is still in the very early stages of the process.

“This project of ours, to go public, is part of our development plans for the near future, to reach our full potential,” said Cucinelli. “It will allow us to gain international prestige as well as to compete with companies at a certain level.”

Indeed, this seems as good a moment as any, given the luxury brand has experienced continuous growth in revenues over the last four years, ending with a 27 percent increase to 201 million euros, or $265.3 million at average exchange, in 2010. “Honestly, we didn’t expect these results, especially considering the economic situation,” said Cucinelli, adding that he expects double-digit growth for 2011, as well. Additionally, he believes an IPO could bring the company the clout it needs to attract top-level managers to its Solomeo headquarters, which is, though by all means picturesque, a bit off the beaten track.

“I feel there is a good atmosphere right now for the luxury and Made in Italy sectors,” said Cucinelli. Indeed, Bain & Co. came out with a study earlier in the week that showed a peak in luxury goods consumption and forecast continued momentum for the industry.

The company has already taken the first step toward certifying its balance sheet, which is being carried out by Ernst & Young; Merrill Lynch and Mediobanca are in place to act as the global coordinators of the operation.

Cucinelli said it was too early to say when or where the IPO would happen, though he did admit, “I’m Italian, and I believe in my country, so when the time comes, I would hope to list here.”

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