CARBONATE, Como — Ramponi Stones and Strass S.p.A., the manufacturer of studs, synthetic crystals and rhinestones, is ready for an initial public offering.
The firm’s founder and chief executive officer Alfredo Ramponi revealed Monday that the company will be listed on the Aim Italia program by the end of December. This is the Italian Bourse’s program dedicated to small or medium-size companies.
“We took this decision because we’re in full development and [joining] the Bourse represents an excellent incentive to become even bigger and, most of all, compete on international markets offering an even more efficient service,” said Ramponi, adding that “the free float will represent 20 percent of our share capital.”
In 2017, Ramponi Stones and Strass’ turnover was 15.5 million euros, with the Italian market accounting for 12.4 million euros and the European one for 2.5 million euros. The remaining amount was generated in extra-EU markets, where Ramponi aims to strengthen its presence, specifically in the U.S., Japan and Canada. The ceo also said he expects revenues to total 16 million euros in 2018.
The company serves over 600 international clients, including 15 of the top luxury fashion brands, providing them not only with components such as studs and rhinestones but also with semi-finished products in leather or fabric. Clients range from Valentino — think of the brand’s “Rockstud” shoe style — to German accessible footwear brand Gabor.
The company, which also counts Swarovski among its partners and suppliers, has patented over 40 products and processes, including the Ramponi Cut stones. Protected by an international patent registered in 2006, this is a cutting technique that mimics the one of diamonds to boast maximum brilliance in lightweight, synthetic crystals.
In 2008, the company began to produce studs in “ABS,” a thermoplastic polymer, which soon became one of its best-selling products for combining quality, endurance and lightness, while offering a wide variety of shapes and custom finishes, compared to metal studs.
Counting 100 direct employees and collaborators — 80 percent of whom are women — Ramponi Stones and Strass annually produces 200 million pieces in its 53,820-square-foot plant in Carbonate — a one-hour drive from Milan. The company invested 3 million euros in the last three years to expand its production area and renovate its machinery.
In addition, earlier this year Ramponi Stones and Strass acquired a 90 percent stake in Astarte S.r.l., an Italian company specialized in manufacturing natural products in nacre, shell, hard stone and wood, expanding its area of expertise and enabling experimentation among these items, studs and rhinestones.
Ramponi said he has also eyed another company and plans to use the resources of the listing to “acquire another part of the production, which we currently outsource.” The executive declined to disclose both the name of the firm and the production process involved.
To further diversify its offering, the company will also implement an embroidery area — 200,000 euros have already been allocated for dedicated machinery — and a furniture division in 2019, tapping designers and firms from different industries to find hybrid solutions in terms of interior design, lighting and pottery, as well as jewelry and applications in the cosmetic, yachting and automotive categories.
Established in 1962, as a manufacturer of plastic items, the company refocused its operations in 1988, when Ramponi inherited his father’s business and embarked on the new venture after meeting Marcus Hotto Schmid, a Swiss trader in the fashion jewelry industry.