Italian fashion giant Prada is set to announce plans for a £2.5 billion flotation on the Milan Stock Exchange in a move that will raise £800 million, it was reported yesterday.

The London-based Sunday Times newspaper quoted Prada chief executive, Patrizio Bertelli, as saying he was optimistic of a July or August float and would reveal more details at a press conference on Thursday.

"We plan to file the necessary documents with Consob, the Italian financial regulator," Bertelli told the paper. "The market is more liquid than when we last tried to float and there is a lot of interest in luxury brands. We will be among the first major floats in 2002."

The company's decision to float this summer comes after its first two attempts were postponed because of the global economic slowdown and the September 11 terrorist atrocities n the US.