Versace to Decide on Stake Sale by the End of 2013, CEO Says

Versace Spring/Summer 2013 campaign | Source: Versace

MILAN, Italy — Gianni Versace SpA, an Italian maker of $950 flower-print jeans, expects to decide by “October or November,” if it will sell a minority stake publicly or privately to fund growth, chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris said.

“We are still looking at the numbers,” Ferraris said late yesterday before Versace’s menswear fashion show in Milan.

Versace hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Banca IMI SpA last year to explore growth options. The banks haven’t yet presented “possible solutions” and the Milan-based company hasn’t started talks with potential suitors, Ferraris said.

“To produce more, you need more working capital,” the CEO said. Whatever Versace’s family owners decide, they will retain control “for sure,” he said.

Versace is weighing opening its capital in a bid to tap rising demand for luxury goods, particularly among Asian and Latin American consumers. Worldwide luxury sales will rise between 4 percent and 5 percent this year, Bain & Co. estimates.

Versace may have “a scenario of possibilities” by the middle of 2013, Ferraris said in April. The company, founded by the late Italian designer of the same name in 1978, has a valuation of about 1.4 billion euros ($1.84 billion), based on the 32 times earnings, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, that Qatar’s Mayhoola for Investments SPC paid last year for Valentino Fashion Group SpA.

In 2012, Versace reported Ebitda of 44.5 million euros on revenue of 408.7 million euros. The maker of $550 blue patent- leather loafers is “on plan” to increase revenue to between 450 million euros and 500 million euros this year, led by demand in the U.S., Ferraris said yesterday.

Donatella Versace and her brother Santo Versace have helped run the company known by its Medusa-head logo since their brother Gianni’s murder in 1997. Donatella serves as creative director, while Santo is chairman. Donatella owns 20 percent of Versace, Santo owns 30 percent and Donatella’s daughter Allegra, a non-executive director, owns the rest.

By: Andrew Roberts; Editors: Mark McCord, Peter Chapman