Italcer sees scope for international expansion
Sights set on the United States in particular
Aims to double earnings over next five years
By Elvira Pollina
MILAN, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Italian ceramics group Italcer aims to list on the Milan stock market in 2023 as part of an expansion plan seeking to almost double earnings over the next five years.
A listing would support ambitions for "further growth in international markets", said Italcer Chief Executive Graziano Verdi, who sees potential for expansion in the United States in particular.
It would also allow investment funds Mindful Capital Partners and Miura, who respectively control 58.38% and 31.23% of Italcer, to sell their stakes.
Italcer produces ceramic tiles and luxury bathroom furnishings. It was set up six years ago and has expanded through a series of acquisitions at home and abroad.
Though Italy's renowned ceramics industry is energy intensive and has been hit hard by rising prices, Italcer has been able to mitigate the impact thanks to government support measures and investment in renewables.
Italcer's turnover totalled almost 360 million euros ($393 million) last year, producing core profit of some 80 million euros.
The company employs 1,180 people, 920 of whom are in Italy, where it has six factories. It has another three factories in Spain.
"The listing should happen this year," Verdi said.
He added that he took encouragement from recent market moves and easing fears of recession, adding that the company was in a phase of expansion.
Bookrunners for the IPO are Credit Suisse, Intesa Sanpaolo and Jefferies, while Lazard and KT&Partners are advisors for a listing that is pencilled in for the second half of the year.
Verdi did not give a potential valuation on a Milan market which a number of well-known companies have left over the past year. Franchi Umberto Marmi, a supplier of Carrara marble, trades at about 10 times its core earnings.
Italcer generates 80% of its turnover in foreign markets. Its products are used in hotels and upmarket stores, boosted by special coatings developed to protect against bacteria and viruses after the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With the listing we can look in more concrete terms at expanding in the American market, perhaps with a production site ... local ceramic production accounts for little more than a third of overall consumption, so there are big gaps," he said, adding that U.S. authorities have offered favourable incentives for companies investing in renewables. ($1 = 0.9150 euros) (Reporting by Elvira Pollina Writing by Keith Weir Editing by David Goodman )