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Prada board to mull Hong Kong IPO this week

MILAN, Jan 24, 2011 – Prada directors will meet Thursday to consider the Italian fashion company\’s first public listing, probably in Hong Kong, an industry source told AFP.

"The board meets Thursday and the stock market listing is the order of the day," said the source, who could not say whether a formal announcement would be made immediately.

Prada refused to comment on the possibility of an initial public offering.

According to recent press reports, Prada favours a Hong Kong listing which could take place in June or July.

The group has been keen to get publicly listed for several years, but have held back due to the inclement market conditions.

Last October the fashion powerhouse announced that it had re-opened the dossier and was looking particularly at Hong Kong on top of other possibilities such as Milan or London.

The company said at the time that all options remained open but Prada\’s deputy chairman Carlo Mazzi told a Hong Kong newspaper that "If I have to make a decision right now, I will choose Hong Kong. It\’s likely to become the world\’s biggest stock market in 10 to 15 years."

It is also no coincidence that China is the world\’s fastest-growing market for luxury goods and is forecast to be the world\’s top buyer of such products — cosmetics, handbags, watches, shoes and clothes — by 2015, according to consultancy PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

The group, which includes the Prada, Miu Miu, Church\’s and Car Shoe brands is 95 percent controlled by the Prada family.

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In the first nine months of 2010, the group\’s net profits tripled to 156 million euros (211 million dollars), thanks in particular to its growing sales in Asia.

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