Belstaff explores flotation as bikers’ favourite rides back to Britain

Belstaff, the motorcycle jacket manufacturer owned by JAB Holdings, has relocated its operations back to Britain as it looks to highlight its heritage with an eye on a possible flotation.
Gavin Haig, who joined the designer brand as chief executive from the Swiss luxury goods giant Richemont in 2014, told The Independent that Belstaff had transferred its finance offices from Switzerland to London and relocated its trademark back to the UK this month.

“This is the final phase of consolidating our operations back in the UK and is beautifully in line with being a truly British brand,” he added.

He has also poached a new finance director, Mike Woodcock, from Richemont’s Montblanc pens business.

Belstaff began producing waterproof jackets for motorcyclists, and later aviators, in Longton, Staffordshire, in 1924. It was bought in 2004 by the Malenotti family of Italy, which shifted the operations to Milan and moved the brand into the luxury market, leveraging its popularity among actors from Steve McQueen to George Clooney, and celebrities such as David Beckham.

The Malenottis sold the business in 2011 to JAB, the holding company of the billionaire German industrialists the Reimann family, whose investments range from the coffee maker Jacobs Douwe Egberts to consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser and shoe firm Jimmy Choo.

Mr Haig said that Belstaff was exploring the idea of an initial public offering and he personally would like to bring it to the stock market at some point. “We are exploring the idea of an IPO but with no specific timeline,” he said. “For now, the focus is on developing the brand and continuing to generate momentum.”

He expects revenue for the 12 months to 31 January to be 20 per cent higher than last year, and is forecasting similar growth this year. Belstaff, which has five shops in the UK and Ireland, is looking to open more concessions and promote new collections with the actress Liv Tyler and explorer Ranulph Fiennes.