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Apax pulls Hilfiger IPO

Private equity firm Apax scrapped the US$4 billion (£2bn) float of Tommy Hilfiger yesterday, blaming volatile market conditions.

A day before Tommy Hilfiger chief executive Fred Gehring was due to begin an investor roadshow, Apax issued a statement which said the current volatile climate had forced it to postpone the Hilfiger Group IPO.

Apax and Tommy Hilfiger management insisted the business was trading strongly and it is understood that like-for-like sales were up in each of its core regions around the world, including the US.

The statement said: "Tommy Hilfiger has a very strong business and has been performing well. An initial public offering has always been recognised as a logical step. Investor feedback has been positive. However, considering recent volatile market conditions, management and shareholders have decided to postpone an IPO process until such time that market conditions have stabilised."

It is unclear whether this will affect other luxury fashion companies planning to float in 2008. Both Prada and Ferragamo are planning to list this year.

The decision came as other luxury fashion brands appeared to be feeling the pinch caused by the credit crunch. Coach, the largest US maker of luxury handbags, reported its weakest profits growth for eight years on Wednesday, while Burberry this month said it may miss profit targets after poor sales in Spain.

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