Fashion and other high-level “made in Italy” products keep on exercising their appeal towards foreign investors and financial operators: the strength of the Italia brand combined with the production quality and the ability to penetrate into new international markets – especially within emergent countries where the opportunity is provided by the growth of the so-called “nouveau-riche” class – are the factors at the base of the international attention paid primarily to the companies who manufacture clothing and accessories, as well as to those in the jewelry, high-end food products and furniture sectors.
According to a Pambianco investigation on the merger&acquisition activity in the Fashion&Luxury activities, 34 of the 81 operations carried out in Europe and United States in the first nine months of 2013 have had Italian companies as targets. Among these companies, 15 that manufacture clothing and lingerie, 4 leather goods and footwear, 4 jewelry, 3 furniture, and the rest were producers of wine, perfume and clothing retailers. There were thirteen acquisitions of Italian companies by foreign investors, accounting for 16% of the total. The largest acquisition regarded Loro Piana, the Piedmontese cashmere company was acquired by the French Lvmh group with a 2 billion Euro investments; Pomellato, a jewelry brand that was valued at approximately 400 million in the transaction, also navigated towards France, now under control of the Kering group.
The Italian shopping on international markets was shier: 3 deals were closed, with the Trento-based Cavit company that acquired Kessler, the German champagne company; La Rinascente acquired Illum, the Danish depart store; and the Tamburi Investment company purchased a significant participation in Roche Bobois, the French furniture company.
Four Tuscan companies were the subject of M&A operations throughout 2013. The investment that is best known to the public pertained to Richard Ginori, the historic Florentine porcelain company experiencing financial difficulties that was saved by Gucci, the international fashion company with Tuscan origins, which wanted to wager on the recovery of production. The other fashion “weddings” pertained to Bottega Manifatturiera Borse, specialized in leather goods, which ended up in the investment portfolio of the German Halder fund; in Carrara, the D’Avenza tailoring company – known for its men’s suits – was purchased by Brunello Cucinelli; whereas the Sasch clothing brand was acquired by Russian investors.
The vitality of the fashion-luxury sector was confirmed through a comparison with preceding years. According to the Pambianco analysis, the overall operations concluded in the January-Septmber period increased by 8% compared to 2012, and by 40% compared to 2011.