The private equity breaks into the world of balsamic vinegar of Modena with an operation that arouses some interest in the possible medium and long term developments. The Clessidra fund, created by the former Fininvest manager Claudio Sposito, has acquired the majority of shares of Acetum, now chaired by Cesare Mazzetti (another well-known name in the field of traditional Italian distillates). The entire company was valued at over 100 million euro but the exact details are not known. The exact portion sold has not been disclosed but it may be not far off a 70-80% stake.
“The complexity of the markets in which we operate, together with the increasing demands of large retail chains to work as a private label supply, have meant that we need more resources, both financial and human capital. And, for these strategic reasons, we have chosen to bring in a new partner that brings all these assets,” said Cesare Mazzetti to Food, who will remain chairman after the entrance of Clessidra. The shareholder Marco Bombarda will retain a seat on the board of directors. “The fund – continues Mazzetti – has appointed Andrea Guidi as new ceo. A manager with experience in the food sector with the development of the Nutkao brand and with a past in Barilla. He will look after the operational aspects of the group, which need re-examination after the recent acquisitions.”
In recent years the company has incorporated Acetaia Fini, of Emilia Romagna and the Pontiroli: with growth through acquisitions that needs fine tuning. “This process is not complete. We have signed an agreement for the acquisition of another company that will shortly be made public knowledge. In our industry, like many others in the Italian food sector we feel the need for a process of concentration to deal with the increased strength in international markets. For the first time we have the impression that something is happening and we are fully in this process.”
Foreign markets, where 95% of the Modena balsamic product is placed, are still receptive and growing. “In the first half of 2015 we grew 15%, after closing 2014 with consolidated sales just under €100 million, if we also consider our American subsidiary. The United States is growing, thanks to the strong dollar. Germany is experiencing a lull while Russia has come to a stop, due to the geopolitical problems. Countries such as Korea and even Iran are emerging (which have signed a historic nuclear pact with the United States. Editor note). Other traditional markets such as France, England and Switzerland are also performing well.”
It is to be remembered that even Ponti has been targeted for capital injection. The Italian Strategic Fund (Fondo Strategico Italiano) is interested in the Piedmont company.