Pronovias wants to marry US

a few hours for christmas Eve but Amandin Ohayon, managing director of Pronovias, has to cater to an average american after chatting via telephone with this new

Pronovias wants to marry US

a few hours for christmas Eve but Amandin Ohayon, managing director of Pronovias, has to cater to an average american after chatting via telephone with this newspaper. If these dates are usually themselves busy in a company that although renowned for her wedding dresses, is a specialist also in festive costumes, this year exceeds the usual hustle and bustle: Pronovias opened boutique in Beverly Hills on December 30.

The company, which maintains its headquarters in Barcelona, opened in 2019 six own stores in the country. “We are focused on the expansion in the united States. Right now it is a market that means the 17% of our business, but we're working to reach at least 30% in the next three years”, assures the maximum responsible of the signature, already present in Philadelphia, Boston, Austin, Houston, New York and Los Angeles. In addition, during the second half of this 2020, the brand planned to open a few more stores in the united States, another in Canada and the relocation of the one you already have in Mexico.

Amandine Ohayon, the ceo, has reached agreements with famous designers

Pronovias Group is now the international leader in the sector of bridal fashion. It has five brands (Pronovias, St Patrick, White One, Nicole and Alessandra Rinaudo), more than 4,000 points of sale in 105 countries and 97 boutiques Pronovias.

Founded in Barcelona over 50 years ago by the family Palatchi, was acquired by the fund BC Partners in October 2017 by 550 million euros. “Pronovias no longer grew, he seemed to be in a time of great profitability, but also of stagnation, and that was a good reason for your sale,” says Vincent Forest, a partner at OnetoOne Corporate Finance. BC Parner paid for their property ten times the ebdita of the company.

Amandin Ohayon arrived to your address almost two years ago, after the exercise of other positions of responsibility within L'oréal or LVMH. In the last few months has regenerated fully by the management team of the group, including the creative part, led now by Alessandra Rinaudo.

An aggressive expansion

After a policy of acquisitions in Europe –Pronovias purchased the Italian Nicole in 2018 and the Dutch Lady Bird in 2019– the company started its aggressive store expansion. “There is No other company in bridal fashion that has subsidiary [subsidiaries] of international as the group Pronovias. The rest operates from its market and is the international market as exports; we are very different, we do the same thing that other competitors in the sector of luxury: if you are interested in a market, you need a local team to better serve you, both clients and providers,” explains Ohayon.

In its conquest by the united States, Pronovias accompanying in addition to opening stores with alliances with icons local. “BC Partner is a fund specializing in the buyout with the necessary resources to make it grow and make it international,” says Forest.

So, a few months ago, the Spanish group has sealed a partnership agreement with Zac Posen, a leading american designer, through the brand White One, works in 20 wedding dresses for the signature that will be on sale this January. In addition, Pronovias has linked its image to the supermodel, american Ashley Graham, noted for its activism in issues related to diversity.

According to data from the company, the market of bridal fashion in the united States moves some 80,000 million dollars a year, 20% more than all of the business generated in Europe. “Although the USA is the second country after China in the number of weddings, is, and will remain as the largest market in the sector,” says IESE professor José Luis Nueno, author of the report Brides Millennials and Gen Z: the sector of bridal fashion in 2020. The study points out that in the asian giant recorded 11.5 million of links in 2018, and although only 8% of the brides wore western-style, remain a public with a sales potential of 920,000 dresses.

In Shanghai, the average price of their dresses is double that of their Spanish stores

Pronovias opened his own store in the most important commercial center of Shanghai last may. “It's more difficult for brands westerners to succeed in China than in the united States, but it is another very interesting option for us,” agrees the managing director of Pronovias. And he continues: “It's the main consumer market of luxury; more than 25% comes from China. And is the number one country in weddings. Today, the millennials wealthy want to have a beautiful traditional wedding, but also a wedding of western-style dress. And it happens that there is not much presence of local brands, western luxury”. In the shop Pronovias in Shanghai the average price is the double than in Spain.

Ohayon has it clear: “we Want you to Pronovias to become the leading brand of bridal fashion in the US and the first western brand in China. I don't think there is another company in the sector with the capacity to invest and expand internationally that we have”.

are Not worried by the downgrade of the rating that Moody's at this end of the year due to the “low-current performance of the company against previous expectations and the deterioration of the metrics credit”, according to sources from the financial services company. The group had a turnover of 156 million euros in 2018, and closed with a loss of 9,07 million, according to the Register of companies.

“Pays the rush of boost that international vision. This is not going to be free, the profitability of the business has dropped significantly in 2018 and 2019, and has increased its leverage in debt to a very high level”, explains Vincent Forest, “but back to BC Partners, a fund with resources that manages 19,000 million euros,” he recalls.

“We're very fortunate, because we have some very strong shareholders who actually believe in our project and invest in it” it is Ohayon. “And I want to clarify –he insists that BC Partners is not giving dividends of Pronovias, but has transferred capital from one company to another within the same group”. Refers to the payment of 141 million dividend that San Patrikcs, the company that brings together the business of Pronovias in Spain, paid a year after the operation against reserves. The recipient of these payments was Catiberia Acquisition, a Spanish company with which BC Partners controls the company.

On the horizon, plans possible ipo of the company. “In my opinion, that is the goal of BC Partners. What they did with other companies such as Amadeus: they bought their shares, the retired first Bag, the reorganized and returned to pull out”, predicts Vincent Forest.

Updated Date: 21 January 2020, 01:00

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