Prada prepares Hong Kong IPO

Shoppers exit a Prada store in Hong Kong on June 7, 2011.

Tess Vigeland: The Italian fashion house Prada finds itself following a trend instead of leading one. Today it became the latest Western company to seek a listing for its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Is floating an IPO in New York or London going out of style? Is Hong Kong the new black?

Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports from London.


Stephen Beard: Prada aims to raise more than $3 billion, selling 20 percent of its shares. Brokers and bankers in London and New York who didn't get the business won't be happy. But says Professor Joseph Lampel of Cass Business School, floating in Hong Kong is a smart move: China is where most of its best customers are.

Joseph Lampel: First of all, the economic situation there is much better. And the crisis has not hit the high-earners -- the high-net worth individuals -- in the Far East as much as it has in the West.

Prada is cashing in on the brand mania sweeping the ranks of China's nouveau riche. And that means not only selling them incredibly expensive handbags and shoes. Alpesh Patel of private equity group Praefinium Partners says Prada is now offering its shares as a luxury item.

Alpesh Patel: It's very much a Western brand, which adds to the cache of being either an owner either of the shares or of the product.

Prada's shares have a luxury price tag, selling at 27 times forecast earnings. Hardly surprising that other Western luxury goods makers are said to be considering a Hong Kong float. But there's still a crumb of comfort here for the West, says Alpesh Patel.

Patel: Europe and North America still own the major brands and they're still creating the major brands.

No consolation for Western bankers and brokers. More cash was raised on the Hong Kong stock market over the past two years than anywhere else on the planet. Prada's just the latest sign that floating shares in London or in New York seems to be going out of fashion.

In London, I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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