Byline: Jackie Cooperman

MILAN — Color cosmetics giant Intercos, the leading producer of powders and emulsions for prestige brands like Estee Lauder and Lancome, is looking to go public.
Confirming industry reports circulating here, Intercos chief executive officer Dario Ferrari told WWD that he would make a final decision by the end of February.
“We are looking to go public, but the timing will depend on how the market goes,” said Ferrari, adding that if he does decide to go public in 2001, he would first float the stock on the Milan exchange.
Otherwise, if he waits until 2002, he would look at options on the New York Stock Exchange.
Intercos, based in the Milan suburb of Agrate Brianza, also has divisions in the U.S. and France, and a joint-venture agreement with pencil producer Interfila. Total sales volume in 2000 was $122 million, up 30 percent from 1999, Ferrari said. Dollar figures are translated from local currencies using current conversion rates.
Ferrari holds 80 percent of the company, with French bank Paribas holding the remaining 20 percent. A successful move to go public would give Ferrari more capital to develop his U.S. operations. “The American market has become very important for us,” Ferrari said. “It accounts for 45 percent of our sales.” The company recently opened a production plant in Rockland County, N.Y.
One analyst said that Intercos’s strength — as a third-party supplier working behind the scenes — could actually prove a liability on the market. Since Intercos is not known to the public, the company may have a harder time luring investors, than a well-known firm like Estee Lauder.
“Still, if they have a strong growth strategy and good margins,” the analyst said, “it could be successful.” Indeed, industry sources in Italy said Intercos’s move to go public seemed inevitable.
“They’ve been looking at this for years; Ferrari has amazing profit margins and is a great businessman,” said a cosmetics executive. “They are the leaders.”

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