Loro Piana, the luxury apparel and textile company, is planning to offer up to a quarter of its stock to the public in an IPO scheduled to take place before the end of summer, WWD reported.

The company, famous for its cashmeres and fine wools, plans to float around 25 per cent of its capital. The Loro Piana family would remain in control of the rest of the shares.

According to insiders, Goldman Sachs and Italy's Mediobanca have already begun work on the company's financials and will underwrite the IPO.

Loro Piana started life strictly as a textile operation, but through the work of Sergio and Pierluigi Loro Piana, the two brothers who now run the firm, it has developed a highly successful retail strategy. Its men's and women's ready-to-wear and accessories collections have only been available for just over two years, but they have already established the company as a force to be reckoned with in the luxury sector.

The company estimates that combined retail and textile sales rose by 29 per cent in 2000, reaching about $210m.