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Burberry Owner Plans to Sell Shares

May 29, 2002

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LONDON (AP) _ Retailing group GUS PLC, owner of the Burberry brand of fashion clothing, plans to sell shares in its Burberry business in an initial public offering in July, the company said Wednesday.

GUS aims to sell off as much as 25 percent of Burberry, which counts Madonna and model Kate Moss among the fans of clothes made from its checked tan and black fabric pattern.

Burberry has seen its profits climb since American Rose Marie Bravo took over the firm in 1997 and turned the lackluster brand into a global fashion icon.

GUS first indicated 18 months ago that it aimed to sell shares in Burberry. The planned sale on the London Stock Exchange would test an uncertain market for new shares, as recent initial public offerings of stock have met with a mixed response.

GUS will sell the first batch of shares to institutional investors only. The company gave no details of possible pricing for the shares, and added that the stock offering would be subject to market conditions.

Burberry posted a 30 percent increase in its operating profit to 90.3 million pounds ($132 million) for the year endeing March 31 from 69.5 million pounds a year earlier. Its sales grew 18 percent to 499 million pounds ($729 million) from 425 million pounds a year earlier.

GUS chief executive John Peace attributed Burberry’s strong growth to Bravo’s management, a revitalized product and the opening of new stores.

GUS’ other units include the Argos retail chain and Experian, a business information service. Its shares rose 6.3 percent Wednesday in trading in London.

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