Furla seeks to sell its stake in the accessories company – WWD

MILAN Furla owners are considering selling a stake in the Italian accessories company, according to market sources.

Sources say Furla has brought in Lazard as an adviser and a dossier is circulating in Milan. It is also understood that former Valentino CEO Stefano Sassi is consulting Furla on a potential deal.

As reported, Sassi recently worked with Etro and reportedly helped the Italian fashion label sell a 60% stake to private equity giant L Catterton last year, in a deal valued at 500 million. euros. The executive joined Valentino in 2006 and has been instrumental in leading and growing the business through the 2012 acquisition by Mayhoola.

Furla did not comment on the speculation and a representative for Lazard could not be reached.

“Obviously a capital injection is always helpful and we know that many private equity funds are full of cash now, but at Furla I think there is a succession problem,” said a source, who s is expressed on condition of anonymity.

In 2016, owner Giovanna Furlanetto set in motion her plan to take Furla public, but that plan never materialized. “She changed her mind,” the source said, and “now is not the time to reconsider that decision.” Furla was founded in Bologna in 1927 by Aldo Furlanetto, Giovanna’s father. His son Giuseppe Costato, who is one of the owners, is not involved in running the business.

“These are the first days, she is testing the market. It’s unclear if she’s looking for an industry partner or just someone to help fund the company’s development to compete in a cluttered accessory arena. In any case, the attractiveness of the brand remains strong,” said the source. Furla has a strong and extensive store network around the world, with strong business in Europe and growth potential in Asia-Pacific. Japan has always been the company’s main single market.

In 2016, TIP Tamburi Investment Partners invested 15 million euros to issue a convertible loan for a capital increase, which would have been automatically exchanged for Furla shares during an initial public offering which was due to take place in 2018 but did not never took place. At that time, TIP also undertook to subscribe an additional 15 million euros on the day of the introduction under the same economic conditions as those offered to the market. Another quota of shares would have been allocated to TIP and sources estimated that an additional 15 to 30 million euros would then have been paid. TIP, which counted the Marzotto, Loro Piana and Ferragamo families among its investors, has invested over the years in Remo Ruffini’s holding company, Ruffini Partecipazioni, indirectly buying stakes in Moncler, Hugo Boss and Ferrari.

Furla is led by chief executive Mauro Sabatini, who took over last January from Alberto Camerlengo, who was appointed executive chairman of the board. Sabatini relies on a deep knowledge of Furla and the leather goods industry. For more than 18 years he was CEO of Effeuno, a leather goods manufacturing company he founded in Tuscany and long-time supplier and partner of Furla.

In 2018 Furla took over Effeuno, based in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, a 40-minute drive from Florence. At the time, Effeuno was already producing Furla accessories exclusively, employing more than 100 workers and producing 2 million bags and small leather goods per year. The takeover was part of Furla’s strategy to invest in Italy and strengthen the group’s supply chain, boosting production.

According to the latest figures available, the Furla Group’s sales in 2019 amounted to 502 million euros.

Mauro Sabatini and Giovanna Furlanetto
courtesy picture

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