America’s Cup: Prada’s change of plans

Published on April 27th, 2020

When you are a titan of industry, it’s no time to be exposing your toys during a global economic collapse, which puts Patrizio Bertelli, team principal for America’s Cup challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, in a difficult position.

This is Bertelli’s sixth campaign, and he’s already spoken about how the America’s Cup, which is always expensive, is now a step too far. His involvement is well known, but so is his professional position as chief executive officer of the Italian fashion Prada brand.

Bertelli, whose wife Miuccia Prada is the granddaughter of Mario Prada, founder of the Prada brand, can’t hide from this conflict. When the team is largely self-funded, that is a lot of toy when news reports are not favorable for stockholders:

Prada SpA said on April 22 it would no longer distribute a dividend this year, contrary to a previous decision made in the previous month.

The board of the Italian fashion group, which is publicly listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, recommended the allocation at the next shareholders’ meeting, scheduled for May 26, of the entire 2019 net income to the reserves of the company.

“Due to the current global financial crisis caused by the widespread COVID-19 pandemic, the board of directors has made this decision to allow the Prada Group to access further resources to rapidly go back to its previous activity levels in the next months,” said the company in a statement.

The Italian luxury fashion house delivered improved results last year, registering an acceleration in the second half that continued until the end of January, when it was interrupted by the health emergency.

“This is a huge and unprecedented event that will draw deeply on our sense of responsibility,” said chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli. “Our full concern and support go to the people who are facing these tough times. The safety and the well-being of our colleagues as well as of our customers all over the world are of the greatest importance to us and we will do everything we can to help overcome this crisis together.

“Although it is difficult to forecast the evolution of the epidemic, we are expecting a negative impact on this year’s results and we are implementing a comprehensive contingency plan to mitigate it, relying on our flexible supply chain and lean organization. The soundness of our financial structure gives us the confidence to overcome this exceptional moment and to be ready to capture the recovery when it arises.”

Prada had converted the production of its Montone, Italy-based factory to supply 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks to health-care personnel, upon a request received by the Tuscany region. The initiative followed the donation of six intensive care units made on March 16 by Bertelli and Miuccia Prada, along with chairman Carlo Mazzi.

36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAW
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAW

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, but they still must complete the entry fee payment process before they will be eligible to race. They have allegedly made their initial payment but as a late entry challenger under the Protocol, they also have a liability to pay a US$1million late entry fee due in installments by October 1, 2019. However, it is not yet confirmed if they have paid the fee, nor is there any knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team training.

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
December 17-20: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1


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