Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella products.

Italian investment company Italmobiliare is investing 120 million euros to acquire an additional 60 percent stake of 400-year-old pharmaceutical laboratory Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, becoming the brand’s majority investor.

Owned by the Pesenti family, Italmobiliare first invested in the historic cosmetic company in January, when it acquired a 20 percent stake.

Following the closing of the transaction, which is expected by mid-September, the investment group will control 80 percent of Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, which employs more than 100 people and sells high-end products in 300 stores in the world.

In 2019, Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella registered a consolidated pro-forma turnover of more than 31 million euros with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of around 13 million euros.

Offering more than 600 different products including body care, fragrances, candles, ambient fragrances and liqueurs — all delivered in its signature, old-school packaging that has added to its charm and increasing success worldwide, based solely on word-of-mouth rather than advertising — the Florentine brand generates 61 percent of its sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa area, 21 percent in Asia — led by South Korea and Japan — and the rest in the U.S.

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The company was founded by Dominican friars after they arrived in Florence in 1221 and settled in the Santa Maria Novella location, cultivating herbs to prepare medicines for their monastery’s infirmary.

After manufacturing recipes like aromatic waters and a bergamot-based fragrance for the Queen of France Catherine de’ Medici in 1533 — which is still a bestseller — the apothecary opened to the public, officially launching as a commercial activity in 1612. In 1989, the company passed under the control of mechanical engineer Eugenio Alphandery, who bought it for 800 million Italian liras, approximately 413,000 euros.

Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is Italmobiliare’s first investment in the perfume and cosmetics industry. As reported, in 2016 the company secured the Clessidra Sgr SpA private equity fund for roughly 20 million euros, while the following year it finalized the acquisition of a 40 percent stake in outdoor footwear and ski equipment specialist Tecnica Group for 60 million euros. Founded in 1960 by the Zanatta family, the latter controls a range of specialized labels, including Nordica, Moon Boot, Lowa, Blizzard and Rollerblade.

In the last two years, Italmobiliare invested more than 400 million euros in Made in Italy brands, enriching its portfolio that currently represents an aggregate turnover of around 1.6 billion euros.

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