On­line re­tailer’s IPO on the cards

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

RICHEMONT is con­sid­er­ing an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing of on­line re­tailer Net-a-Porter as soon as next year, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion. Richemont, the world’s largest jew­ellery maker, had held talks with banks to dis­cuss op­tions for the London-based company, said the peo­ple, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the plans are not pub­lic. It might also con­sider a sale, they said. The stock rose as much as 2.7 per­cent. Ei­ther move “makes sense”, said Rene We­ber, an an­a­lyst at Bank Von­to­bel, adding he had a pref­er­ence for a sale. “On­line re­tail­ers don’t be­long to lux­ury goods com­pa­nies in the long term.” Richemont bought the two-thirds of Net-a-Porter it did not al­ready own in a 2010 deal that val­ued the re­tailer at £350 mil­lion (R6 bil­lion). We­ber es­ti­mates Net-a-Porter’s sales reached € 580m (R4.7bn) in the year to March and will be about € 660m for fis­cal 2015. Shares of the Geneva-based company, whose 20 brands in­clude Cartier and Mont­blanc, traded 2.1 per­cent higher at Sf86.80 (R980) at 12.13pm in Zurich on Fri­day, giv­ing a mar­ket value of about Sf50bn. No fi­nal decision on a sale or IPO has been made, and Richemont may choose to keep the business. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the company de­clined to com­ment on Fri­day. Richemont’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Gary Saage said at the start of this month that the lux­ury goods maker had not changed a decision made last year to keep all its brands. – Bloomberg

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