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Italian Yarn Spinners Operating in Troubled Waters

Low demand and higher raw material prices making for difficult environment.

MILAN — Yarn manufacturers exhibiting their winter collections at two-day yarn fair Filo that ended here March 21, were cautious about 2013.

Italy’s uncertain economic and political situation combined with the worrying price increase in raw materials contributed to raise doubts on the recovery after a negative 2012. According to Italian fashion and textile consortium Sistema Moda Italia SMI, in 2012 the Italian yarn business was 7 percent down to 3 billion euros, or $3.9 billion at average exchange rates, compared with 2011.

 

Monticolor export manager Massimo Fenu said cotton yarns have risen 35 percent in the last couple of months and has caused the company to consider raising its wholesale prices.

“I think that this relevant increase is motivated by two factors, both related to China,” Fenu said.
He noted that the reduced availability of cotton caused by Chinese companies and the government buying huge cotton stocks. In addition, he also said that traditional raw materials’ suppliers have been forced to increase prices due to the competition coming from China-based manufacturers.

Biella-based Davifil is also adopting strategies to face the problem of rising prices. Chief executive officer Vincenzo Caneparo said, “With the new collections, we will have new prices, reducing our margins at the same time.”

 

Following a difficult 2012, the first three months of the year the company registered good results, Caneparo noted.

“Revenues are returning to normal levels,” aided by increased exports to a number of European countries, including Eastern Europe and Greece, he said. “We are still focused on Europe because our offering is not suitable for Asian markets looking for high-end products.”

Davifil’s core business is the production of mid-range yarns in natural fibers. For fall 2014, the company opted for a natural approach, showcasing untreated wool yarns along with blends of wool and hemp. On the other hand, Davifil pushed more bold products, including multicolored printed yarns.

In order to meet the different needs of the market, Filatura Pettinata Luisa 1966 differentiated its offering, as well. In addition to its classic merino wool yarns available in stock service in a wide range of colors, the company also mixed alpaca with wool for super soft yarns with various finishings, all sold in one natural color. The collection also included exclusive yarns with a print-like effect, sometimes embellished with Lurex for a sparkling look.

“This is going to be a challenging year,” said Filatura Pettinata Luisa 1966 commercial manager Laura Mauri. “In particular, we are noticing a delay in receiving orders. Business is very inconsistent and I think the situation won’t change until September.”

With Italy accounting for 70 percent of its total revenues, Filatura Pettinata Luisa 1966 is trying to expand its business outside the country. For this reason, in the context of the “Italian Yarn Creativity and Excellence” project, the company showcased its collection, with other 17 Italian spinners, at Shanghai’s Spin Expo trade show.

“Thanks to this project, we got in touch with about 1,000 Asian buyers, which is an incredible number for a niche company,” said Filatura Pettinata Luisa 1966 chief executive officer Roberto Rimoldi.

Biella-based Botto Poala was among the Italian firms that presented at Spin Expo. At Filo, the high-end spinner showcased its new women’s collection centered on luxury yarns in wool, cashmere and alpaca with bouclé and fur-like effects. For men’s, the company focused on products for deconstructed jackets and casualwear, such as the wool Heavy Three Ply, and wool and linen blends. In addition, Botto Poala confirmed silk’s momentum in men’s wear with a new a range of lightweight, shiny yarns mixing cashmere and wool with silk.