Turkey's Desa seeks partner in drive to be global luxury brand

Istanbul, Turkey - Turkish luxury leather goods maker Desa, which supplies brands including Prada and Mulberry, is seeking a strategic partner to help take its own label global, its chief executive said in an interview.

Desa Campaign

The Istanbul-based firm, which started 42 years ago making handbags for the domestic market, began supplying leather to top global fashion houses in the 1990s. It has also been quietly shifting its own brand into the higher-margin premium segment.

Desa has more than 100 stores in Turkey and a flagship site in London's Covent Garden. It wants to expand into new markets by establishing itself in locations including China, Paris, Milan and New York.

"It is a financially sound and strong company, so we do not need an additional infusion of cash ... to realise the business plan," chief executive Burak Celet said in an interview. His father founded the company, and his family still holds a majority stake in the business.

"What we need is a strategic partner with the right connections and right network ... to realise my dream of taking this brand international in three years instead of the ten years which the natural progression of things will take," he said.

He said the company, mostly owned by the Celet family with a 35 percent free float, was talking to several potential investors but declined to give details, beyond emphasising that Desa was not seeking a purely financial investor.

"As a family who still has the majority share in the business, we're not looking at exiting. It is a healthy business, it is a promising business, and there are still a lot of things I would like to do with the business," Celet said.

Desa generated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 11.8 million lira ($5.6 million) in 2013, up almost a quarter on the previous year, on sales of 183 million lira.

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