March 21 (UPI) -- Levi Strauss will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday with an initial public offering of $17 per share, a higher than expected range for the iconic clothing company.
Levi made the IPO announcement late Wednesday, topping projections that believed it would offer 36.7 million of its Class A shares from $14 to $16.
Levi Strauss has not been sold publicly for nearly 35 years and will appear in the NYSE under the symbol LEVI. While its blue jeans and other bottoms make up nearly 75 percent of the company's sales, Levi has tried to diversify with products appealing more to female shoppers.
During its last fiscal year, Levi's women's apparel improved 29 percent to $1.6 billion in sales while men's pants grew three percent.
"I think it's great timing for them," Claire McCardell, senior research analyst at Renaissance Capital, a provider of IPO research, told Barron's. "Their management has done a great job and growth has really accelerated over the past two years. They have a really nice trajectory to sell as they're going public."
In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Levi said that it would work to expand into emerging markets like China, India and Brazil to improve long-term growth.
"We are focusing our product design and marketing efforts to reshape our global consumer perceptions from a U.S. men's bottoms-oriented company to a global lifestyle leader for both men and women," Levi said in the filing, adding that its product expansion would include footwear and outerwear.