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Sandal maker Birkenstock next European company to file for Wall Street listing

Sandals of the German sandals and shoes maker Birkenstock are pictured in a store window at the company's store in Berlin on February 26, 2021.
Sandals of the German sandals and shoes maker Birkenstock are pictured in a store window at the company's store in Berlin on February 26, 2021. Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Euronews with AFP
Published on Updated
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Birkenstock is following in UK chip-maker Arm's footsteps as a high-profile European company seeking a public offering in the US rather than the old continent.

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German sandal maker Birkenstock, whose image has been revolutionised in recent years as an iconic fashion brand, has filed its application for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The prospectus, published on the US Securities and Exchange Commission's website on Tuesday, does not give a date for the listing of shares in the company, which is controlled by investment firm L Catterton and also counts luxury goods leader LVMH and its boss Bernard Arnault as partners.

Shareholders speculate that the company's valuation will sit at more than $7 billion dollars (€6.5 billion), according to the Wall Street Journal, while the Financial Times, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, says it wants more than $8 billion.

Birkenstock's filing is a further illustration of the resurgence of IPOs, which is due to kick off this week with the listing of UK semiconductor designer Arm, also in New York. 

The announcement also means Birkenstock is following in Arm's footsteps as a high-profile European company seeking a public offering in the US rather than the old continent.

The document filed on Tuesday is a preliminary filing and doesn't mention the number of shares that the group wishes to offer to investors.

It reveals that in its last fiscal year, which ended in September 2022, Birkenstock generated sales of €1.24 billion and a net profit of €187 million.

In the six months from October 2022 to March 2023, revenues reached €644 million, an increase of 18%. 

In eight years, Birkenstock has more than quadrupled its sales.

From faux-pas to fashion icon

Founded in 1774 by shoemaker Johann Adam Birkenstock, the company began by selling soles, before moving on to sandals in 1963.

In the 60s and 70s, the emancipation of young people in the West led to a more casual style of dress.

But the brand then fell out of fashion, before being reborn in recent years with the help of an aggressive marketing strategy, illustrated most recently by its appearance in the blockbuster Barbie film.

Reinvented as a fashion accessory, Birkenstock has even carved out a place for itself in the world of luxury by launching collaborations with Dior, Valentino, Céline and Givenchy.

In 2021, this strategy will culminate in the acquisition of a majority stake in the company by US-based L Catterton, valuing Birkenstock at around €4 billion, according to analysts.

The company employs around 6,200 people, according to the SEC filing.

Birkenstock claims to produce its shoes in Germany. One of its largest sites is in Görlitz, in the east of the country, not far from the Polish border, and a new factory is due to open by the end of the year in northern Germany.

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