Italy’s Ducati sees medium-term IPO-shareholder

* Private equity owners have no current plans for IPO

* EBITDA margin to rise to 18.5 pct in 2010-CEO

* MotoGP rider Rossi to boost licensing sales-CEO

MILAN, Nov 1 (BestGrowthStock) – Italian motorbike maker Ducati
shareholders could relist its shares on the stock market in the
medium-term in a move supported by its improved margins, one of
its private shareholders said on Monday.

Speaking at a presentation of 2011 models, Antonio
Perricone, a partner at 23 percent shareholder Italy’s BS
Investimenti, said Ducati has improved profitability in a weak
market in which Ducati has bucked the trend.

“We are very happy. It is an investment we believe in. We
believe in putting the company on the market in the
medium-term. There are no plans at the moment,” Perricone told
Reuters on the sidelines of the presentation.

Private equity does not have to sell its stake after a
five-year period, he said. “This company has enormous
potential. We see how it goes with these models and Valentino”
Rossi, who is becoming Ducati’s MotoGP rider.

Ducati was delisted at the end of 2008. Private equity fund
Investindustrial owns a majority stake, the Canadian pension
fund HOPP about 7 percent, and management the rest.

The earnings margin before interest, taxes, depreciation
and amortisation will rise to 18.5 percent this year, from 18.3
percent in 2009, more than double the 2006 level, Ducati
Chairman and Chief Executive Gabriele Del Torchio said.

“At the end of the year we expect to realise sales about 6
percent more than last year and to generate an EBITDA margin of
18.5 percent, which is a record,” he said.

In 2009, Ducati sales were 360 million euros, down 23
percent from 2008, a company official said.

Ducati’s margins compare well with those of peers.

EBITDA margin at Harley-Davidson’s (HOG.N: ) motorcycle
operations were seen rising to 19 percent to 20 percent in the
medium-term by Fitch in August. Harley did not publish an
EBITDA margin in its recent third-quarter results.

Italy’s two-wheel producer Piaggio (PIA.MI: ) had a 14.7
percent EBITDA margin in the first nine months of 2010.

The arrival of Valentino Rossi, arguably Italy’s most
recognisable sportsman, as Ducati rider for the 2011 MotoGP
motorbike world championship will boost the brand’s recognition
and help licensing sales, the company said.

Rossi won’t be directly involved in Ducati marketing but if
he wins this can support the brand, Perricone said.

Rossi’s impact on motorbike sales will be difficult to
measure, Del Torchio said, adding there will an effect on
product licensing such as Ducati spectacles and shoes.

The 2009 MotoGP champion is due to start official testing
with Ducati after next weekend’s Valencia race, the last of the
season, a Ducati official said.
(Writing by Nigel Tutt; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Italy’s Ducati sees medium-term IPO-shareholder