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Pencil-maker Fila plans IPO

by Carlo Festa


It’s known for art pencils used around the world, and brands like Giotto, Tratto, Das and Pongo. Now Fila is taking a major step, moving to the Italian Stock Exchange.

It's doing so by merging with Space and Spac (special purpose acquisition companies), backed by major players in Italian financial circles: Gianni Mion, Sergio Erede, Roberto Italia, Carlo Pagliani, Edoardo Subert, Alfredo Ambrosiano and Elisabeth De Bernardi.

The company’s market value is seen at about €300 million euros, of which one third will be floated. The group will have €228 million in equity and a capital increase of €63 million is likely.

The transaction, which requires approval by its shareholders, will proceed in several steps: Space will acquire 17.1% of Fila for €39.1 million euros. Spac will give up Intesa Sanpaolo's 13.1% of the company and the bank will exit entirely from the company's capital, as well as 4% of the quota held by Palladio-Vei, which will remain invested with a stake of around 10.4%.

The last step of the integration process will start with a capital increase at Space in Fila's favor: with a stake that could vary from €63 million to €50 million.

Massimo Candela will be the CEO, Gianni Mion the non-executive chairman.

“The listing will help consolidate our international growth. Today, Fila already generates two-thirds of its operating cash flow and revenue outside of Italy,” said Candela. “Some 28% of sales come from North America, 21% from Central and South America, 49% from Europe (of which 27% from Italy. The rest of the world accounts for the remaining 1%,” he added.

Fila currently has revenue of €228 million euros with a gross operating margin of 40 million (and Ebidta margin of 17.5%), and debt of around €57 million that will be completely extinguished by the end of the operation with Space. The listing will help the company move more aggressively into developing markets like India.

It's a key step for a group that has grown over the past 14 years thanks mainly to the entrance of Sanpaolo bank as a shareholder in 1999. Fila has expanded significantly over the last decade with the acquisition of U.S. group Dixon Ticonderoga in 2005, German company Lyra in 2008, Lapiceria Mexicana of Mexico in 2010, Brazil's Lycin in 2012 and Italian company Maimeri in 2014.



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