Hardy Amies ready for AIM float after Singapore injection

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The Independent Online

Hardy Amies, the Savile Row couture house founded by the Queen's late dressmaker, is preparing to float on AIM after sealing a crucial refinancing deal with a Singapore-based fashion conglomerate.

Aussino, controlled by the Canadian retail entrepreneur Anthony Lim, has taken a 19.5 per cent stake in Hardy Amies, formerly known as the Luxury Brands Group. Mr Lim, the executive chairman, has acquired a further 10 per cent.

Timothy Maltin, who recently succeeded David Duncan Smith, the brother of the former Conservative party leader, as the chief executive, said the total £1.3m cash injection would provide the group with enough working capital to breathe new life into the august house that has seen better days.

"We have now got the really powerful global player that the brand has needed to be able to start to build a business model like some of the other houses that have been revitalised recently, such as Aquascutum and Mulberry," Mr Maltin said.

He said the timing of the move to AIM from Ofex would depend on market conditions, adding that the company "may well" use the opportunity to raise fresh capital. "It will depend on how aggressive we decide to make our ready-to-wear roll out strategy," he added.

Mr Maltin is conscious that overambitious plans for the group's future cost Mr Duncan Smith his job but insisted that this time it would be different. "We are well set for a period of fairly steep growth," he pledged, setting his sights on the Chinese market.

The company's most recent financial results showed it had narrowed its losses to £260,000 during the first six months of the year from £1.2m a year earlier. It was sold by Sir Hardy Amies to the Luxury Brands conglomerate. As a mark of respect to Sir Hardy, who died earlier this year aged 93, the company changed its name in October.