Permira Not Exiting Hugo Boss Completely

(Reuters) – Private equity company Permira said the sale of a 6.4 percent stake in Hugo Boss did not mean it was starting a process to exit the German fashion house.

The Red & Black holding company, controlled by Permira, sold 4.5 million preference shares in Hugo Boss via an accelerated bookbuilding process at 68.25 euros per share, a Permira spokesman said, citing bookrunner Citigroup.

“This disposal is not the start of an exit process,” Joerg Roeckenhaeuser, head of Permira Germany, said in a statement earlier on Monday.

“Hugo Boss has continued to perform very strongly under the leadership of CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs and the Permira Funds remain fully supportive of the recently approved company’s growth strategy,” he added.

Hugo Boss last week sharply increased its earnings and sales targets for 2015, predicting strong growth in China.

Analyst Ingbert Faust at Bankhaus Lampe said the disposal did not come as a surprise, only the limited size of the placing, which raised approximately 307 million euros ($421.6 million) in total.

The shares were hit by news of the sale on Monday and were down 6.2 percent at 68.13 euros at 1518 GMT.

DZ Bank analyst Herbert Sturm said while the placing could cause pressure on the share price, it was positive that the percentage of shares in free float was rising by a third as a result.

Permira first invested in Hugo Boss in 2007. Following the sale, Red & Black will hold some 66 percent of Hugo Boss’ total share capital and control 89 percent of the voting rights.

The percentage of preference shares in free float, which are listed on the MDax midcap index, will rise to about 57 percent.

“The group expects the higher free float to further improve the attractiveness of the share among institutional investors and to increase the weighting in the MDax,” Hugo Boss said in a statement.
Red & Black, which also owns the Valentino Fashion Group, has committed to hold onto its remaining Hugo Boss stake for six months.

Citigroup was bookrunner for the sale. ($1 = 0.728 Euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)