FERRE’S NEW OWNERS CONSIDER STOCK LISTING

MILAN — Gianfranco Ferre SpA is the latest Italian company to ponder going public. A spokeswoman from Gruppo Tonino Perna, which purchased Ferre a little over three months ago, confirmed reports in the Italian financial press that company principals were “leaning toward” a public offering, but not before 2003.
“In June, we’ll present our restructuring plans for Ferre, and at that point we’ll probably talk about the possibility of going public. Nothing, however, has been decided,” the spokeswoman said. Last December, GTP purchased a 90 percent stake in Ferre. Analysts say the company paid between $150 million and $175 million for Ferre, which had direct revenue of $60 million last year.
GTP is the parent of the fashion group IT Holding, which is quoted on the Italian stock exchange. IT Holding owns the Romeo Gigli, Malo, Exte, Gentry Portofino and Husky brands, while its manufacturing arm Ittierre produces jeans and young lines under license for Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli and Ferre.
This month, IT’s managing director, Giancarlo Di Risio, told WWD the company was taking time with the Ferre restructuring and that the first results “won’t be evident until 2002.”
Ferre is the latest Italian brand to talk about a listing. Tod’s went public last November, while Prada plans to take the plunge in the spring. Aeffe, which owns the Alberta Ferretti, Moschino and Rifat Ozbek brands, is prepared to seek a listing later this year.