U.S. Markets close in 6 hrs 3 mins

Edited Transcript of BC.MI earnings conference call or presentation 8-Nov-19 10:59am GMT

Nine Months 2019 Brunello Cucinelli SpA Earnings Call

Nov 28, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Brunello Cucinelli SpA earnings conference call or presentation Friday, November 8, 2019 at 10:59:00am GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

================================================================================

Corporate Participants

================================================================================

* Brunello Cucinelli

Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD

================================================================================

Conference Call Participants

================================================================================

* Andrea Randone

Intermonte SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Research Analyst

* Flavio Cereda-Parini

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD

* Francesca Di Pasquantonio

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Melanie Anne Flouquet

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of European Luxury Goods and General Retail

* Paola Carboni

Equita SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Analyst

================================================================================

Presentation

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good evening. Chorus call operator speaking. Welcome to the presentation of 9M '19 revenues of the group Brunello Cucinelli.

(Operator Instructions)

Speakers will be Brunello Cucinelli, CEO -- President and CEO; then Moreno Ciarapica, CFO; and Pietro Arnaboldi; Head of Investor Relations.

(Operator Instructions)

And now I'd like to give the floor to Brunello Cucinelli. The floor is yours.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here we are. Good evening, everyone. And it is a pleasure to be here. As usual, I'd like to really thank from the bottom of my heart, all the investors, analysts and the press, as usual. Well, since we are drawing close to the end of the year, we’d like to call this a call of -- an end-of-the-year call because, as a matter of fact, it is only a month away. The end of 2019 is only a month away, and we were just saying this morning time really goes by very fast. In my case, now I have reached the fourth part of my life, the last stage, and as my [Seneca] puts it, my team Seneca , we need to be -- try and be senior advisers to the young generations.

So I often say that personally, I'm very fond of these calls because it is a time for exchange and whenever there is an exchange, there is growth there. Then, of course, the main condition is that you are always willing to listen. But we do not. We somehow have lost the patience of listening.

Well, we're here with the whole team, and I would like, first of all, to give you the highlights of the first 9 months of the year. Then I'd like to supply you a strong visibility on 2019 because the year is nearly over, and then I'd like to give you quite good visibility on 2020 and a good visibility too on 2021 for this business plan, '19, '20, '21, the 3-year business plan. And then last, but not least, we'd like to tackle with this big topic with you, this great topic of harmony and sustainability that we have just commented.

So net revenues, EUR 459.2 million, plus 8.8% current exchange rates in 7.7% constant exchange rates, vis-à-vis EUR 422 million last year. Then increase in the international markets by 10.2%; Italian market, 2.2%. So Europe, 9.6%; North America plus 9.2%; China, up 14.4%.; rest of the world, up 11.3%. Then there has been an increase in all distribution channels, Retail, 11.2%; monobrand Wholesale; 3.2%; multibrand wholesale, 6.9%.

I have defined this specific time as follows. We have nearly reached the end of 2019, an excellent year for our business in terms of both results and image.

The full winter sellout rate was very good, and our brand seems to be enjoying much appreciation. Based on these results, we can already envisage the year closing with a good revenue growth of around 9%, coupled with a healthy profitability rise.

Given the global development of luxury, made-in-Italy, ready-to-wear, and the buoyant order intake, and it will -- for spring/summer 2020, we believe the next year too will deliver positive growth in revenues and profits, in line with our 10-year plan, 2019-2028.

A special thanks to all our coworkers, whose creativity enables us to push ahead with the project we call "working and living according to nature".

So we have reached the end of the year. And we can say this, we have reached 50% of the fourth quarter. We have a like-for-like of around 4%. And for us, it is a satisfying result, I should say. The third quarter reported a more or less 10% growth. And our forecast, as we were saying before, since just a month is elapsed -- is missing, we believe that the fourth quarter will see some slight acceleration, too.

So it is out of doubt that taste plays a very important role at this moment in time, and we have to say that lately, the general taste has moved and shifted towards the general DNA of our business for menswear, but especially for women's wear.

As I was saying last time, we subsequently work with more energy and serenity. Experience actually tells us that trends tend to last 4, 5 years, but whereas when the trend, the 5-year trend, is less fittingly keeping with your taste, then it is tougher. This does not mean that designing a fresh collection is an easy task. So we believe that the next 4, 5 years to come will be slightly more in favor, advantageous to our company. But of course, it goes without saying that we must be modern, fresh and innovative because unless you have a valid product, then the rest goes down the drain.

And then compared to last August call, there is one great piece of news we'd like to convey from the commercial point of view, we have secured the contract, the agreement for 2 beautiful boutiques, one in Paris Avenue Montaigne, and we had been in the lookout or searching, seeking it for 4, 5 years, and it's not always easy to find a spot in that specific street, and we are very pleased. And the other one in the Meatpacking District in New York neighboring the beautiful boutique of very highly regarded Hermès.

And we believe this is a new neighborhood that is really up-and-coming, very chic, very trendy. And I would say, very young, too, because the average age there is 35 to 45. So it is a very contemporary, upbeat neighborhoods with restaurants. So we are very confident in this beautiful boutique. So 2 new boutiques under our belt, and they will be opened in the next -- in the early months of next year. And from the economic viewpoint, we invested more or less EUR 4 million, and this amount is to be considered as some sort of advance on the 2020 investment plan. So our plan to invest in our investment plan, '19, '20, '21 so -- does not change the investment plan. So the 3-year business plan does not change.

So what about the end of 2019. What do we envisage for that? So we called this year, excellent and revenues slightly above EUR 600 million, EBITDA growing more than proportionally, profits rising, the tax rate should stand at around 30%, 31%, and we call it quite a good rate. And by the way, we still enjoy the advantages of the Patent Box. And in the last 5 years, this initiative has resulted in a taxation rate of 22%, 23%. So we can definitely call it an appealing and interesting 5-year term for an Italian company. 6% of revenues is the net financial position. And as to the dividends, I would say, 45% is what we envisaged, 45% of profits, and we consider this some sort of ideal stage, ideal level in keeping with our strategy, the 10-year strategy.

And as we also often put it, we feel pretty sound as a company, we have a net equity that slightly exceeds 50% of sales, and we honestly keep thinking that true luxury -- and mind you, this is a very powerful concept, we have witnessed this in the last 4 -- 3 -- to 3 years -- 3 to 4 years. True luxury really requires huge investment because everything ages very fast, the store, the showroom, everything needs to be refurbished. So if you want to be contemporary and up with the times, you need to change, reinvest, refurbish, revamp and this is true both for the physical world and also for the online world.

And now we would like to provide you with what we call a very wide-ranging and precise visibility on 2020. Why do we call it wide-ranging? Because we have already had the order intake for spring/summer, excellent amounts there. And what really matters here is also the feedback, the inputs we received about our collection. So the multibrand stores were very positive about our collection, and this translated into huge orders. And then there's yet another important feedback that's coming from the press, another excellent feedback there. And as you know, sometimes the press can be enthusiastic about the collection, and maybe your clients are maybe less enthusiastic. So in this case, you should maybe be concerned because maybe your product is not as good.

The best situation is when both feedbacks are aligned. Of course, the fact that you enjoy good feedback on the goods that will be displayed in our stores until June. Well, the fact that this happens -- this has happened, makes us work with serenity and peace of mind.

So as to the projections for 2020, we would say the following: revenues, rising by 8% approximately; EBITDA that is more than proportional; then profits more than proportional there too; investments, around 8%, and you should also consider that EUR 4 million were already invested in 2019; and improving net financial position; and then dividends, around 50%.

Next year, this should be the optimal, the ideal level for us to be delivered in 2020. So in -- for 2020, we keep -- we expect yet another wonderful year. And as I said before, the sellout rate for fall/winter is very important for this season of the year. Because in January, they will all come back to you with the budget, ready to do the buy, and it depends on how the previous season said, so but since we have reached November, we can be pretty sure about what will happen in the coming months.

I'd now like to give you some highlights on the 2021 estimates. This is to be the last year of the 3-year plan. Good revenues; still more [the] proportional EBITDA; 8% investments; and then net financial position improving; and dividends, 50%. So these are the rough figures for the next 3 years.

Hopefully, everything goes according to plan. But you see, we have somehow the feeling that these plans are well-balanced. They are deliverable. They're pretty pragmatic. And we would like -- hopefully, we'll manage to, we would like everything to grow with grace, with moderation, or at least that's what we would like. We'd like to keep working in an environment that is pleasant as we like to say pretty often.

So I'd like to now give you the highlights on what we discussed last August. We spoke about the great value of physical stores. We still have -- we're still very confident in the brick-and-mortar channel. And also, it is very important to have the so-called brand ambassadors in the stores, and we have set up a school for brand ambassadors in Solomeo, the kid's line collection, and we have given you the details of that too, and also the value of made-to-measure for menswear and also the importance of believing in menswear, especially in suiting because these are very important. It's a very important garment. So these are the main topics.

And then last August, we also mentioned the importance of darning and mending garments or reconditioning them, and this goes hand-in-hand with the idea of not wasting anything. You see, personally, I have to say, I do not shop for many, many new things because I have always maintained and argued that you have -- if you have a well reconditioned and mended garment, it still has some sort of appeal and charm better than the new one.

As like I was saying, last time in our company, we have a very interesting department where we recondition garments. We do it in-house. So when we receive the garment or the item, then we can recondition and send it back in a very short time.

And then another very important time is the update of the institutional website. Three years ago, we decided to redo completely our institutional website. And the website was made up of 2 main parts, the institutional site Web and then the online business. And I'll give you a couple of highlights on that.

So the -- as to the institutional part, we wanted it to tell our story, who we are, where we live, how we work, our idea, our take on life. And I have to say that 3 years down the road, the feeling is that it was pretty much appreciated. But in the last couple of months, we have tried to introduce some contemporary changes. As to the boutique, the part we are very, very pleased with the way it's doing. We wanted our online boutique to really depict our identity as much as in the physical world. So it is important for sales, but even more so for communication, to convey the taste and the lifestyle, all these -- those things that you are already familiar with and that we wanted to show.

So 2 days ago, we have updated our website by publishing our thoughts, the life of the company, some highlights on the places where we work. And another thing I wanted to mention -- another thing we'd like to receive your feedback on, we have tried to tell you the story to put into writing, our idea of human sustainability that we called living in harmony with creation. So this is the great job that we carried out. And as you know, it is very important because once you write it down once you -- it is set on paper, it stays there. So we have always supported these ideas for 40 years.

Hopefully, you will appreciate it now that you can find it written somewhere. And hopefully, we can practice what we preach.

So first of all, we provided a general document on what we mean by humanistic capitalism and human sustainability, and then there is the rather 10 rules we want to comply with -- we try to comply with. And then we have broken down into 3 actions.

There is a first part devoted to the relationship with the local land, the environment, architecture as if we were somehow some temporary guardians. And by the way, we live and work in former industrial premises of the '70s that we have refurbished to make them contemporary.

But here, we have an architect on it, an architecture plan, a landscape plan because -- and could say guardianship plan and because you see maintaining things is pretty costly, and we know that in a few years, these and our factory will have to be refurbished completely. And also, we explain how we behave with the -- what with the wildlife, how we grow our plants and our vegetables.

Another thing, another part is what we do inside the company with our coworkers that we call them loving, lovable, endearing employees. So you can find there what we do in our company, and then another important part, the third one is devoted to the relationship with our partners.

And because we always ask them to really share our views in our relationships. Hopefully, we ask this in a kind way. So we use the conditional mode. We say we would like you to do that. We would like you to share our views because we always try to entertain inspired relationships with the -- with others. We didn't want to impose anything. We just wanted to highlight what we would like to do together with them.

And now drawing towards the conclusion, I'd like to tell you that we will keep doing our roadshows. On the one hand, there will be me doing the roadshows, and then some others will be held by Luca and Riccardo, who will be the new young CEO, CEO, starting from next year. We will be traveling the world. So somehow, we have a chance to meet you in America, in Europe, all around the world, and you should know that these meetings are really inspiring for us.

There is definitely a lot to really take home from these meetings. I keep repeating -- 7 years after going public, I keep saying this, you must be willing to listen because when somebody disagrees with you, you tend not to listen, but it is important to listen, nevertheless.

So all the figures, the results that I provided you with of the 3-year period, 2019-2021, all these figures are expressed through the old accounting principles. From now, from next year onwards, we will also have a comparison with the new system in force.

And now we would like to convey to you the mood with which we work. And it is always serene, a peaceful mood. It's always attentive, it is never pressing because we are always in the lookout for the contemporary taste.

Today, during the Board meeting, while Andrea Pontremoli, our Director. He's always genius-like. And he said, we should really consider our business as a plan forever. Everything must be open to the world, if something changes in the world tomorrow, we must be able to change accordingly. So we are very confident in the world. We like the atmosphere surrounding our brand. So generally speaking, we are very confident towards mankind. Thank you very much for your attention.

And now the -- we are open to welcome your questions. And besides that, do not hesitate to contact us, to write to us. We're always very happy to have an exchange of views with you. Thank you immensely for now.

================================================================================

Questions and Answers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) The first question from the Italian conference call by Melanie Flouquet, JPMorgan.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Melanie Anne Flouquet, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of European Luxury Goods and General Retail [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I will speak Italian. Yes. If I could speak Italian like you -- English like you speak Italian. I'd like to go back to 2 topics. The first one is investment. There has been a jump to 8% of sales last year too. And the comment you -- what you gave was that great luxury needs great investment. I think that, that's what you meant. I'd like to maybe have a few more colors on how you want to invest these funds, what changed, maybe there's a change in terms of speed in the refurbishment? I'd like to understand on the digital world, maybe, if you can give us some more colors on these investments. Let's start with this?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, yes, I believe Melanie well, you see -- we can say that we started coming up with this idea, more or less 3 years ago. So the idea is the following. You come to the showroom to view the collection, and you take pictures of everything. So what happens is that before the showroom would last for 3 seasons, whereas now every season, you need to change it. Then maybe you would go to [BD], the biggest trade fair for menswear. The world you stand would change every 3 years, now it's every 6 months because if I take a look at the pictures that I've taken in the stand, in the booth, if the booth is the same, the collection looks old too. And of course, this is true also for physical stores, even more so. Everything must be contemporary, fresh, the colors, the packaging, the visual merchandising.

So we have -- so as far as technology goes, what I say that we need to buy the most up-to-date technology. I've always thought that we need to buy the most advanced technology. That's why we are working with Salesforce, and we're doing wonderful things with them.

As to the working -- the workplaces, well, the workplace, maybe that's where the least changes, but you still need to change somehow because you need to be creative when we start design the new collection. We change with just small tweaks, but we do change something in the office too. I think the biggest investments are in the physical stores, the showrooms, the contemporary spaces because you must always look fresh and contemporary, Melanie. Everything ages very, very easily. And at least for our company, you see before we thought that in ordinary business would be an investment of 6%, 6.5% of revenues, whereas now we have brought up this amount to 8% for the next 3 years.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Melanie Anne Flouquet, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of European Luxury Goods and General Retail [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, the second question is on the change of pace that is more favorable to you. You also commented on this last quarter. Can you maybe help me understand this change? The companies talk about less streetwear, casual chic but is there something that you can share with us?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, yes, I can definitely give you some ideas here. I have been doing this for 40 years. My taste stems from my esteemed, [Gisanda], Armani, Yohji Yamamoto. So the taste I prefer is quite clear, linear. And history tells us, that usually taste lasts for 4, 5 years. Well, maybe you can't say that taste is more or less sophisticated. It's always somehow sophisticated, but that's the way it is.

So we stem from a culture that started with Armani, Yohji Yamamoto, Max Mara, a great Italian company. Also, 40 years old, very special, but this is the taste, I would say, very similar to ours. And for us, working in the -- in a trend that is slightly more in keeping with your taste, it is more -- is easier. This does not mean that it is automatically that you design great collections, but the taste is the same.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [6]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question from Andrea Randone, Intermonte.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrea Randone, Intermonte SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Research Analyst [7]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello, my question, I'd like a few more comments on what you see geography-wise. And in particular, I'd like a comment on the multibrand performance in Italy, whether something is changing there, if you see any change there? And maybe some comments on Asia, where many of your colleagues mention Hong Kong or Japan. So I'd like to understand whether you are -- we know that they do not affect you usually that much, but if you can give us some more color on the trend of the sense of this important region?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [8]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, of course. As far as multibrands are concerned, we, as you know, believe very much in the multibrand channel because they really are the guardians, the custodians of your brand because they tell you how your collection is doing, and you understand that because if they buy your collection, that it means that your -- the brand is doing well. The multibrand is undergoing interesting changes, and this is basically what -- as far as the sales assistants are concerned, that I would prefer to call brand ambassadors. They're the one promoting these products.

And then 3, 4 weeks ago, we invited some managers of the multibrands in Asia, and they are wonderful multibrands, EUR 12 million, EUR 13 million, EUR 14 million revenues; 500, 700 square meters, and there is no doubt that in a few years, there will be really a whole range of new multibrands.

And then as far as maybe the parts of the world, China is concerned, things are going very well. Of course, Hong Kong does not weigh very much in our business. I would say, just over 2%, but it is offset by Macau, Shanghai, Beijing, and Japan has had a great year. But Andrea, I would say that as far as we are concerned, when we put together the budget, one year there will be maybe an issue in Paris when another year, there will be some turmoil in Hong Kong. You remember when there was some disease. I can't remember where it was, in Korea or somewhere else.

Of course, in -- when putting together the budget, you always need to provide for something unpredicted because we see this, in such a global world, there is always something that cannot be predicted. So you always have to set aside some sort of provisions for that, and we usually do that.

China has around 10% incidence with a sound growth of around 15%. We are very pleased with that. So we are very happy with Japan. We're very happy with America. I have the feeling that they -- everybody tends to look at special kind of garments, but you see, this is our business, and we don't really want to boast, but you have to be modern, contemporary and exclusive. This is yet another important adjective.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [9]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) Next question from Paola Carboni, Equita.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Paola Carboni, Equita SIM S.p.A., Research Division - Analyst [10]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is Paola. Just 2 questions from me. So geographically, a few comments from you on the American market, where you have maintained your growth trend. Some players mentioned difficulty, volatility. So I'd like to understand what actually enables you to, as usual, outperform and maintain this sound performance?

And then secondly, looking at 2020, I wanted some indications on openings. So in light of the visibility you enjoy at this moment in time, what can -- what are your openings -- store openings planned in 2020 and also any plans to convert from wholesale to DOS.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [11]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No. Thank you. As far as the U.S. is concerned, you see, we are very, very happy with this market. We enjoy a great relationship with the department stores. And with them, it's not just a question of displaying your goods. So you have to really intervene individuals. For example, we have 60 people coming from all over the world that we call brand ambassadors. They work for these companies, and they come to our store to be trained. So this -- they -- your space needs to be treated in a special way. These brand ambassadors must always give you a great experience because if you step into a department store, where you actually -- nobody helps you out, and you have to help yourself, it's not really a nice experience. So a great evolution there.

In our company, we have always had this culture of the multibrand, we were born with the multibrand, still the percentage of our business there is 50%. So it is easier for us to build with them a special image in their department stores.

And last but not least, truth be told, there is also this interest in high-quality Italian ready-to-wear. It's is very strong, this trend. It was -- used to be very strong in the '90s, then in the past 20 years, ready-to-wear decreased, and now there is a lot of request, a lot of demand for the U.S. market. Then conversions, just a small thing in Taiwan and not very relevant. So 4, 5 openings, pretty meaningful ones in London. We replaced a store, and we were allotted a great store, very low rent, obviously, very low. Of course, joking. So we also are very happy with the stores in New York and Paris, the locations that we were able to secure. So I would say 4, 5 openings, 4 openings and 1 extension. This is the strategy for next year, truth be told. We are very confident.

So to conclude, I would say that I'm very confident taste-wise. I'm also very confident for menswear. They say that menswear is a bit -- running into difficulty, and they don't want to shop about, 35-, 40-year-old businessmen gentlemen. I feel they need something special to be induced to shop.

And you know what, why we think that because 50% of our made-to-measure items, they're not classic suits, but seasonal patterns, jackets, so which means that chic 35-year old want to have a made-to-measure garments, but it is a blazer and not the suit. So I have this idea that the fashion is going towards this kind of pace, and we are very pleased with that.

The truth is, you must always be smart, exclusive. And as far as the online is concerned, the corporate e-commerce is doing very well, but what I like about this is that all the people who log in to our website, they have been priced. So you know what people do, they want -- they come to the stores, they -- they like to talk to us.

And there's something else I wanted to tell you. This idea of mending and darning things instead of throwing them away, this is really providing us with great results. And I don't want to waste your time on this, but a very important lady, her husband passed away, and she wanted us to adjust her blazer -- her husband's blazer for her to wear it and our tailor worked on it, and she was so happy, and that's the idea of adjusting, mending and darning instead of throwing away.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [12]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) The next question from Flavio Cereda, Jefferies.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Flavio Cereda-Parini, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD [13]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So a couple of things. Going back to Paola's question on the Retail, you have given visibility for 2020, but adopting a bit of somehow of a longer view of 5, 6 years, what kind of openings or how many openings would be sustainable? So the weight of retail in your revenues, will it still be 50%? Or do you want to increase it?

The second question is whether you can tell us something on the online, how the online is performing?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [14]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Great questions, Flavio, as usual. Thank you. So see when I call -- when I say that, calls are very interesting, that's what I mean. So the retail and wholesale plan, we would like it to always be around 50% wholesale, retail, then if it is 53% and 54%, nothing changes. Still, there should always be a balance because I'm ready to bet that the 38 multibrands we have today in China, there will be 100 multibrands store in China in 3 years' time. You see Flavio, we were born with the multibrands. And you see if your managers in your company are 45, well, I'm sure they have the only thing they've known is retail.

So what is the multibrands? Sometimes, the multibrands, they think that the multibrands are someone that really make it difficult for you to sell, but we believe that it is quite a modern choice to have the multibrand in your account.

And then the online world, we attach a lot of value to the online world, not just for our revenues, although worldwide, our revenues, there is more or less 7%, 7.5% -- 2.53% with the brunellocucinelli.com, but all people you see log up to the website, and then they actually go to the physical store to talk to the people there, but the important thing is when they log into your website, it's because they want to know where you be -- where your production is located, what you do, how you behave. This is something that we have been saying for years, but it is particularly strong nowadays.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Flavio Cereda-Parini, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD [15]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Congratulations.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [16]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you. May god help us, Flavio.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Flavio Cereda-Parini, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD [17]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I know, but you must be -- we must be contemporary.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [18]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question from Francesca Di Pasquantonio, Deutsche Bank.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Francesca Di Pasquantonio, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [19]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have a short follow-up question. Here, we link up all our questions one to another. But in your answer, you touched upon something interesting, i.e., the fact that with a direct channel and especially with the online consumers can really find out everything about the brand. Since most of your revenues happen outside of your control, how can you make sure that the messages -- special messages of the brand, sustainability, humanistic capitalism as well as human sustainability, how can you be sure that all these concepts that make you stand out in terms of positioning and communication actually get through?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [20]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, great question, Francesca. Well first of all, we'd like to say once again that we have not -- we have 500 multibrand accounts worldwide, not 5,000, and some of them have been with us from the very beginning, Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks. So what do we do with them? Even -- we always discuss with them what they put online. A couple of days, our staff went to Dallas to discuss how the product should be presented in Neiman Marcus' website. So now this evening, I'm having a dinner with 60, 70 brand ambassadors that come from department stores, meaning that they try to convey the idea of where we live, how we live, how we work. So 2 days ago, we probably posted something, and it is a very important document for us. It's the first time we write it down, and you know that when something like that is written down, you know there will never be canceled. Do you -- are you -- do you really do it or not? Do you believe in it or not? But there is really a lot of desire to better understand and know, and people want to know where you work, what you do, how you behave with your employees. Is there gender equality and also in the way you treat employees in their working hours. It is very strongly felt.

I myself, before I shop, I gather information on your product. And if you -- this company does not behave properly, I don't want to buy your product. This is a very strong, harsh change that is taking place in the world. And in the next couple of weeks, I will be holding a speech at Bloomberg to speak specifically on this. And I will say, repeat it once again that the 181 companies that signed the documents, they -- it is really a watershed change. We were saying this with Marc Benioff the other day. Next week, we are going to the Pope to talk about this. There is a really a lot of -- a lot is being said, a lot of buzz is in the way you work, how you treat the architecture, your surroundings. This is very strongly felt. What I say, and I go out of my way to say is that, first, you have to talk about the company and then the product. Of course, if the company is good, but the collection is not appreciated, then it's not working. But if you have a good product, but the company does not abide by some specific key parameters, then you won't have a long life ahead. This is the big theme. Whereas if you have a company that respects its workers then the creativity rate shoots up because if you work for many, many hours, you get tired, and you can't be as creative.

So we thought long and hard about it, and then we decided to write everything down, and we posted this document. And I think that what comes out of this document is that we want everyone -- we want to respect also our subcontractors, our subcontractors, they are the owners of their companies, and they are the ones in charge of their companies, and we ask them to be inspired by us, which means that if you share this thought -- if you share our thoughts, then we can work together. Otherwise, we won't. But I feel this very, very strongly, especially for young people, and it is not just a trend of the more sophisticated ones. If you talk to 18- to 20-year-olds, they share these ideas. It means that mankind is taking this step. For example, Greta Sandberg. There is no doubt that the eyes of a child make you change your opinion. There's no human being that does not change their mind when faced with the face of a child. I'm sure about this. Well, somebody does actually, but let's not talk about this.

But Francesca, this is the trend. There's no way you can stop it. And if you do not accept the change that happens in your time, you will be left to the worst of it, as Voltaire put it. We need a company whereby if we have Cashmere attack to 200%, then we have to be ready to react to that, which is a company that is open to the world, some sort of universalism of mankind.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [21]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Cucinelli, no more questions have been booked.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. - Chairman of the Board, CEO & MD [22]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, then I'd like to thank you very, very much. But you see, I spent half an hour telling about the company and then the discussion followed. At the end of all this, we are particularly happy because it is a great, really great exchange of views on the strategies of the world. Thank you very much. We are here, and we will meet you all soon in America, in Europe and all around the world. Thank you. Thank you, everyone.

[Statements in English on this transcript were spoken by an interpreter present on the live call.]