Prada: brand focus is priority

Prada SpA isn’t shopping for major acquisitions right now, Chief Executive Officer Andrea Guerra said, as the Italian fashion house wants to stay focused on developing its own brands.

“Our homework today is to nurture our brands,” Guerra said at an event in Venice Monday. On the mergers and acquisitions front, “I have no news for you,” he said.

Speculation has swirled throughout the fashion sector since design icon Giorgio Armani hinted recently at possible changes for his company once he’s no longer in charge. Armani, who’s nearing his 90th birthday, told Bloomberg last month that he wouldn’t rule out a merger after he exits the scene.

His comments have shaken the Italian luxury industry, where many companies are still independent and family-controlled, including Salvatore Ferragamo SpA, Moncler SpA and Ermenegildo Zegna NV. All of them lack the scale of powerful, acquisitive French rivals LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Kering SA.

Despite ruling out any major moves for his group in the short term, Guerra said he expects more M&A activity in the industry over the next few years. “In two, three, five years time a lot of things will happen, consolidation will happen,” Guerra said, without elaborating on possible players.

Prada in recent years has bought a stake in tannery Superior and teamed up to invest with Zegna in Italian cashmere maker Filati Biagioli Modesto SpA and in knitwear specialist Luigi Fedeli e Figlio Srl. Guerra said earlier this month that Prada remains committed to investing in Italy, and that the strategy of grouping together smaller suppliers could help it build scale and add stability.