Mar 31, 2011
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Prada has filed IPO papers in Hong Kong

Mar 31, 2011

March 31 - Fashion house Prada has applied for a Hong Kong initial public offering which could value the Italian firm at around 8 billion euros ($11 billion) and allow it to draw Asian investors.

Prada SS 11 Campaign

The fashion house, known for its cutting-edge Prada bags and colourful Miu Miu dresses, filed on Wednesday an A1 application form with the Hong Kong stock exchange with the aim of floating this summer, a source close to the operation told Reuters on Thursday. Prada declined to comment.

If successful, the much-awaited IPO would make Prada the first Italian company to list in Hong Kong and the biggest European fashion brand to float in more than a decade.

Prada has not given a timeframe for the share offering. It has put on hold its plans to come to the market at least three times over the last decade because of market turbulence.

Another source close to the operation told Reuters the IPO could take place in early July.

"The IPO process is going ahead as planned," the source said, asking not to be identified.

Prada would join other companies such as Russian aluminium maker UC RUSAL (0486.HK) and French skincare products retailer L'Occitane (0973.HK) who have looked to raise funds from the Hong Kong market and to benefit from higher valuations.

The Asia and Pacific region is Prada's fastest-growing market. The fashion house, run by Patrizio Bertelli and his wife and designer Miuccia Prada, has about a third of its 326 directly operated stores in the region.

Prada, which also owns the Car Shoe footwear brand, could raise at least 1.6 billion euros from the sale of about 20 percent of its shares, two other sources close to the issue said on Wednesday.

The company could seek a valuation of around 15 times 2010 core earnings, above the 12.5 times average of the luxury sector, the sources said.

By Stephen Jewkes and Antonella Ciancio
(Editing by David Hulmes)

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