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Prada agrees new £300m loan

Luxury fashion house Prada has reportedly agreed terms for a new three-year loan agreement of €360m (£300m).

Prada will use the loan, borrowed from banks such as Banca IMI-Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit Corporate Banking and Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, to partly refinance debt of €450m (£375m) and to help spur its retail growth. The fashion house plans to boost its global presence through 30 new openings, with a focus on Asia-Pacific and openings in European cities including Frankfurt, Prague, Berlin and Lisbon.

Prada, which is reportedly considering listing its shares on the Milan and Hong Kong stock exhanges, saw it debts spiral during the 1990s when it bought brands such as Jil Sander, Helmut Lang and a stake in Fendi.

The new loan follows a denial by Prada yesterday that Chinese businessman Lu Qiang has invested in the company, following reports in the Chinese press.

Prada said in a statement: “Following the news reported by the Chinese media, alleging that Mr Lu Qiang acquired 13% of Prada’s capital in the course of the past two years, Prada denies such rumour, which has no ground whatsoever.”

The statement confirmed that 94.89% of Prada’s capital is controlled by the Prada family and Patrizio Bertelli, the husband of designer Miuccia Prada. The remaining 5.11% is controlled by Italian bank Banca Intesa SanPaolo.

China’s Economic Observer newspaper reported last week that Lu, who is chairman of Shanghai-based factory outlet Foxtown, had indirectly acquired 13% of the business and was in talks to buy more shares with a view to becoming Prada’s controlling shareholder.

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