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La Perla to List in Paris

The luxury lingerie company is seeking to boost its visibility as it targets a Millennial audience.
La Perla campaign | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Sarah Kent,
  • Laure Guilbault

LONDON, United Kingdom — The holding company that owns luxury lingerie brand La Perla will list its shares in Paris on Friday, the company said Wednesday.

Chief Executive Pascal Perrier said the listing will increase the company's visibility and enhance its access to capital — though it is not planning on raising any when it first lists paving the way for expansionary M&A down the road. Perrier has ambitions to build a portfolio of luxury brands under La Perla Fashion Holding NV, hoping to propel growth while working on a turnaround at the struggling underwear brand.

“For us to be listed on Euronext Growth in Paris demonstrates that our strategy for growth has incredible credibility,” Perrier said. “There is a clear plan to further invest and build a portfolio of businesses in the luxury sector,” he added, though he declined to give any timetable or indication of the kinds of investments that might be of interest.

At present, La Perla Fashion Holding’s only brand is La Perla itself. Founded in Italy in 1954, the company became known for its high-quality, high-end lingerie and swimwear. But more recently, the company has struggled to appeal to a younger audience.

The listing is the latest twist in a tumultuous few years for the storied lingerie brand. It was bought out of restructuring by Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia in 2013. Press reports at the time indicate Scaglia paid €69 million to acquire the challenged company through his holding company Pacific Global Management. But, after sinking €300 million to expand the firm in Asia and elsewhere, it remained under pressure. In 2017, it reported a loss of nearly €190 million, according to accounts filed with Companies House.

Last year, Scaglia sold La Perla on to German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst's Tennor Holding BV (previously Sapinda Holding BV) for an undisclosed sum. The company has embarked on a restructuring that helped it narrow its losses to €50 million in 2018, though revenue also fell last year, according to public filings. La Perla said its listing in Paris will value the company at €473 million.

Nonetheless, the company remains under pressure. The lingerie market has changed dramatically over the last twenty years, with a growing number of brands competing at a more accessible price point, and young consumers increasingly investing in more casual, comfortable underwear rather than the high-end lingerie offered by La Perla.

To regain its footing, La Perla is seeking to reduce its cost base. It is working to simplify the group’s structure, streamline points of sale, improve inventory management and rationalise its supplier network.

It’s also looking to revamp the company’s product offering to target a younger, modern global luxury consumer. It’s conducted extensive consumer research, even hiring in anthropologists to help understand its customer base, after previous efforts to diversify the company’s product offerings flopped.

Perrier said he sees the challenge ahead similar to the one that Burberry Group PLC -- where he previously worked -- faced in revamping its iconic trench.

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