Labelux aims for Jimmy Choo share offer this autumn: Sources

PARIS - Privately owned luxury group Labelux has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise it on a possible London market flotation of Jimmy Choo this autumn that could value the upmarket shoemaker at over 900 million pounds (S$1.9 billion), industry and financial sources said.

Market conditions permitting, the listing could take place towards the end of the autumn, in November, with Labelux seen selling a 25 per cent stake, the sources said. Merrill Lynch declined to comment.

Labelux is owned by Joh. A. Benckiser (JAB), the investment holding company of the Reimanns, the German billionaire family associated with Reckitt Benckiser, the cleaning and household products maker.

JAB still owns 10.6 per cent of Reckitt Benckiser and with associates over 70 per cent of fragrances and beauty products company Coty, which last year netted JAB nearly US$800 million (S$1 billion) from its IPO in New York.

Labelux acquired Jimmy Choo in 2011 for more than 500 million pounds from investment firm TowerBrook Capital Partners and hopes that the name, its growth track record and prospects in new markets will attract investors. Jimmy Choo stilettos have been endorsed by a variety of celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, who famously mentioned them in the Sex and the City TV series.

Jimmy Choo is part of a rapidly growing list of companies eyeing an initial public offering in London. If it goes ahead, it would be the most significant luxury goods IPO since the Milan listing of Moncler in December, which valued the Italian down jacket maker at 2.55 billion euros (S$4.41 billion).

Moncler's IPO valued it at 12 times forward earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

Industry sources said Jimmy Choo could hope to get a valuation of at least 13 times EBITDA as its closest peer, Italy's Salvatore Ferragamo, also focused on shoes, was trading on 13 times forward underlying earnings.