February 6, 2019 / 12:06 PM / in a year

UPDATE 3-Capri looks beyond Michael Kors, bets on Versace for future growth

(Adds details from conference call, analyst quote; Updates shares)

By Uday Sampath Kumar

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Capri Holdings Ltd, formerly Michael Kors, on Wednesday raised its 2019 sales expectations and forecast strong growth in coming years, pinning its hopes on Versace, a brand it bought to forge a stronger luxury identity like its European peers Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Shares of the company, which have fallen about 25 percent in the last three months rose about 10 percent in early trading.

Versace, which the company bought last year for about $2 billion, along with Jimmy Choo will help Capri tap Europe’s wealthy, who for decades have preferred designs from local fashion houses over American brands.

The company’s long-term forecast give investors confidence that Capri’s new portfolio of brands will improve its future profit multiples, Nomura Instinet analyst Simeon Siegel said.

Capri plans to invest heavily in Jimmy Choo and Versace in the coming years, adding to the brands’ design teams, opening new stores and getting more celebrity endorsements including supermodel Kaia Gerber and rapper 2 Chainz.

It expects double-digit revenue growth from Jimmy Choo and Versace in fiscal 2021 and 2022, outpacing its core Michael Kors brand that is stagnating because of lower demand for its signature handbags in Europe and Asia.

Capri also said it expects fiscal 2020 adjusted earnings of $4.95 per share, above analysts’ average estimate of $4.89, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s shares have trailed American peers Ralph Lauren Corp and Coach parent Tapestry Inc, and European stocks LVMH and Gucci parent Kering over the past year.

Siegel said until now Capri had been viewed as a collection of distressed assets. “I would argue now the company is a portfolio of brands,” he said.

“Taken together, our three brands position Capri Holdings for accelerated revenue to approximately $8 billion and to deliver multiple years of earnings growth,” Chief Executive Officer John Idol said.

The company raised its 2019 revenue forecast to $5.22 billion from its earlier estimate of $5.13 billion, with the company expecting about a $130 million boost from Versace.

For fiscal 2020, the company expects adjusted earnings of $4.95 per share, above analysts’ estimates of $4.89.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.76 per share in the third quarter, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.58. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sweta Singh)

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