Moncler, which started up in France in 1952 making sleeping bags, has become the third-largest luxury goods company on the Milan stock exchange after Luxottica and Salvatore Ferragamo. The king of the down jacket is now trading with a stock market capitalization of around €3.7 billion, or nearly 40 times its annual net earnings and nearly 50 percent higher than the price of €10.20 a share set for its initial public offering on Dec. 16. Its success makes officials in the sporting goods industry wonder whether they should push more on the fashion pedal.

After exercising a greenshoe option at the same price, institutional investors have sold 30.7 percent of their shares in Moncler on the Milan Bourse for €783.6 million, with a major capital gain for them. The biggest shareholder, Eurazeo, had bought a 45 percent stake in Moncler for €418 million two years ago, when another fund, Carlyle, decided against an IPO because of the difficult economic situation at the time. Eurazeo keeps 23.3 percent of the equity, and Carlyle 7 percent. Remo Ruffini, president and artistic director of Moncler, is now the biggest single shareholder with a stake of 31.9 percent (more in SGI Europe).