Windhorst's La Perla Lingerie Brand to List Shares in Paris

(Bloomberg) -- La Perla, the indebted Italian lingerie brand owned by Lars Windhorst’s investment company, will list its shares on the Paris stock exchange to help access capital at a difficult time.

La Perla, which has stores in London’s Sloane Street and St. Tropez, won’t raise any funds through the move, but the listing “will increase La Perla’s visibility and enhance access to capital," according to Chief Executive Officer Pascal Perrier.

The company aims for a market capitalization of 473 million euros ($520 million) when shares are set to begin trading Friday in Paris.

Known for its $300 bras and $600 nightgowns, as well as dressing the likes of model Kendall Jenner, La Perla has struggled to turn buzz into profit. The company incurred operating losses of 71 million euros on 86 million euros in revenue in 2018, according to a prospectus for the listing. Net financial debt was 103 million euros.

La Perla said it may need to seek fresh financing to restructure and grow after spending almost half of a 250 million-euro shareholder loan. There’s a risk the rest can’t be used, and in that case the company warned in the prospectus it “may not succeed in financing or refinancing its capital requirements in due time and to the extent necessary, or at all.”

No More Bags

In an interview, CEO Perrier said the brand will slash “distracting” product lines like shoes, handbags, and even ready-to-wear fashion as part of cost-cutting measures, and will focus on its core business of underwear and loungewear.

The effort will including streamlining the distribution network and boosting e-commerce, the company said. La Perla will no longer stage the runway shows it previously held in destinations including New York and Macao, and has already laid off the designer team responsible for those collections.

Perrier joined the Bologna, Italy-based company last year after more than a decade at Burberry Group Plc. Also last year, La Perla was sold to Windhorst and his fund Tennor (formerly known as Sapinda).

The brand was part of a crisis that engulfed Natixis-SA backed H2O Asset Management earlier this year. H2O cut the value of its bond holdings in La Perla as it saw around 8 billion euros yanked from its management after ratings firm Morningstar Inc. raised questions about the liquidity of securities linked to Windhorst. La Perla’s bonds were marked down in H2O Multibonds’ to around a quarter of face value in June, though they still trade close to par according to execution data submitted under EU regulations.

La Perla’s filings show that H2O is the second-largest shareholder with a 9.5% stake in the operating company.

Share sales enabled by the listing could eventually fund investing in other luxury brands and not just supporting the La Perla business, Perrier said, but declined to comment on how much capital the brand could raise or when.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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