EXCLUSIVE: Salvatore Ferragamo courted by Arab investors

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Luciano Bertinelli, CEO of Ferragamo's fragrance division and Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, VP.

Luciano Bertinelli, CEO of Ferragamo's fragrance division and Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, VP.

Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo, which launched a US$487m initial public offering (IPO) last year, is being courted by Gulf investors eager to access the luxury European market, a senior company executive told Arabian Business.

“There are some [Arab investors]… maybe... I cannot tell you that… I know something but it is really confidential,” Luciano Bertinelli, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo’s fragrance division and licensing director for its watches and eyewear ranges, let slip during an interview in Dubai.

Bertinelli, who was in the emirate as part the firm’s global marketing campaign for ‘Signorina’, its latest fragrance launched this month, refused to be drawn on who the potential investors were or the status of negotiations.

“You can ask [Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo] as she is the vice president of the company. I know something but it is really confidential, if she says yes she will tell you,” he said.

Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, the second of Salvatore Ferragamo’s six children, is vice president of the fashion brand’s holding company and serves on the board of directors of several Ferragamo companies.

However, she denied any knowledge of any advances from Arab investors: “I don’t think I can answer today as I am not too familiar with everything that is happening with the finance side of our business,” she told Arabian Business in an interview.

Salvatore Ferragamo launched a successful US$487m IPO last year, which saw its shares rise about 27 percent in six months

While reporting a 26.2 percent rise in 2011 revenues to €986.5m (US$1.28bn), Italian press reported, without citing sources, that sales could reach €1.1bn (US$1.4bn) this year.

In February, Salvatore Ferragamo group CEO Michele Norsa said the outlook “in general remains positive” after a strong start to 2012, which includes sales gains in Europe.

He also said Asia and the US are leading revenue growth, while China was one of its major markets and “continues to grow strongly.”

Founded in Italy in 1928, Salvatore Ferragamo currently employs close to 3,000 staff and has a network of 550 outlets worldwide.

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