MILAN, Italy — With the support of the company’s new controlling stakeholders, NEO Capital, Italian luxury accessories brand Valextra is planning an initial public listing as the culmination of a new five to 10 year strategy.
In an interview with WWD, the first since the sale of his family’s 60 percent stake in Valextra, chairman Emanuele Carminati Molina and new chief executive Marco Franchini said NEO Capital, a London-based investment firm, succeeded in its bid to secure control of the company because it promised to protect the integrity of the brand’s exclusive positioning and 'Made in Italy' craftsmanship. “Valextra must remain a flag for Italy,” Carminati Molina stressed.
Carminati Molina said Valextra aimed to reach sales of 80 million euros (approximately $105 million, at current exchange rates) in 2018, a 67 million euro increase from current revenues of 13 million euros. Franchini added: “Our objectives are feasible both in terms of quality and quantity. We want to safeguard the product in line with its essence, focusing on its evergreen values, while developing the company.”
Franchini went on to praise Valextra’s position as “a healthy company that is growing, with no debt, with solid and fertile foundations and a clear and strong identity. The press and the market alike view it as a credible brand and there are no serious emergencies.”
Prior to the planned IPO, Franchini, who is credited with returning Bally to profitability and managed Gucci's European operations in the 1990s, said he intended to establish an experienced management team. Meanwhile, Carminati Molina outlined the company’s plans for increasing production. “Everything will remain produced in Italy, but we will push for a total of between 100,000 and 150,000 units a year.” Currently, the company’s Milan manufacturing plant produces 37,000 pieces a year. But Franchini's reference to “reinforcement of the production structure” would seem to indicate that production may no longer be exclusively in-house.
Carminati Molina, who also designs for the brand, suggested that Valextra, in time, may hire a new creative director. “Someone will surely take over and dedicate more time than I am capable of. We need someone dedicated, as Valextra is capable of realising everything.”
New flagship stores are planned for Paris and London, along with other retail spaces in international markets. “We plan to open four or five stores in three or four years and the same number of franchised units,” he said.