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Luxury yacht maker Italian Sea Group secures Armani's backing in IPO

MILAN, May 17 (Reuters) - Luxury yacht maker The Italian Sea Group said it had secured backing from Giorgio Armani and Belgian pharmaceutical entrepreneur Marc Coucke as it prepared to list its shares on the Milan bourse.

The Italian Sea Group said Milanese fashion group Giorgio Armani SpA and Coucke’s family investment company Alychlo NV would each separately invest in the IPO.

The company did not disclose the size of the individual investments but said Armani and Coucke would eventually hold a combined stake of 15% in the group following a capital increase being carried out as part of the bourse listing.

The group will offer newly issued shares worth around 50 million euros in the IPO as well as existing shares that will be sold by GC Holding SpA, a vehicle controlled by Chief Executive and founder Giovanni Costantino. GC Holding will remain as the majority shareholder in the yacht manufacturer, it said.

The Italian Sea Group will use proceeds from the listing to focus on building yachts with a length of up to 100 metres, to sign partnerships with luxury brands and to increase production capacity including by buying European shipyards.

Coucke founded over-the-counter medicines group Omega Pharma, which he sold to U.S. company Perrigo in late 2014 for 3.6 billion euros ($4.4 billion). Since then he’s made small investment in healthcare companies including Fagron, Mithra and MDxHealth, with a focus on fighting cancer.

($1 = 0.8239 euros)

Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; editing by Valentina Za and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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