MILAN — Exor is further expanding its reach, investing in consumer goods excellence by supporting the global development of medium-sized Italian companies specialized in this sector.
The Agnelli family’s holding Exor, which owns Ferrari, has recently invested in Hermès International’s China project Shang Xia, and in a minority stake in Christian Louboutin, has partnered with The World-Wide Investment Company Ltd., of the Hong Kong Pao family, setting up a new company called Nuo SpA.
As per the agreement, Exor and a WWICL company will invest 300 million euros, and each own 50 percent of Nuo. Exor’s investment will be entirely provided by capital while the partner’s quota includes a 30 percent stake in Ludovico Martelli SpA.
Founded in 1908, the Fiesole, Italy-based Ludovico Martelli is a personal care products company known for its storied brands including Marvis, Sapone del Mugello, Valobra and Proraso, and is an example of the excellence Nuo is planning to invest in.
Tommaso Paoli has been appointed chief executive officer of Nuo.
“We believe that Italy’s wealth of high quality, dynamic medium-sized enterprises, with their wonderful products and tradition, have true potential to become great companies of tomorrow,” said John Elkann, chairman and chief executive officer of Exor. “And we very much share with Stephen [Cheng, managing director of WWICL] and Tommaso, the ambition of helping to make the very best high-end Italian products available more globally.”
On its web site, Exor detailed the reasoning behind the investment, highlighting how “Nuo will unite the knowledge, experience and networks of its founders, to help its companies make their Italian expertise, creativity and authenticity available to global consumers, and especially in fast-growing Asian markets.”
Cheng touted the “perfect alignment of vision and values” between the partners, and said “Nuo promises to leverage on the very best of ourselves to create prosperity for all future stakeholders. There is such a unique history of entrepreneurship in Italy, rooted in human stories and emotion, and we are honored to invest in this everlasting tradition of passion and creativity.”
Nuo has “a clear purpose,” continued Exor, as well as “values and long-term investment horizon as well as a deep understanding of family and owner-operated companies. It will provide not only capital but also support on how to achieve greater scale while continuing to nurture the culture and uniqueness that differentiate its companies.”
While rumors continue to swirl around Exor or Ferrari and a possible interest in the Giorgio Armani group, waved away and even denied by both parties, and around the idea that the former could be eyeing to create a luxury pole, in March a spokesman told WWD that the holding “invests in single companies, not in sectors, and in exceptional businesses and founders with shared values and where it can add value and build great companies. It is the quality of the company, its team and culture and its attractive prospects that are the key drivers of the decision to invest.”
Exor is a long-term investor, working with founders and entrepreneurs in partnership.
Exor has grown into a giant holding company, reporting revenues of 143.8 billion euros in 2019. In January, after more than a year of negotiations, its controlled Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group and French automotive group PSA completed their merger, combining into a company called Stellantis comprising brands ranging from Fiat and Alfa Romeo to Chrysler, Jeep, Peugeot, Citroen and Maserati. It was a combination masterminded by Elkann, who has been leading the family holding company for 16 years. In addition, the holding spans from PartnerRe, a leading global pure-play reinsurer to The Economist and another range of newspapers, to CNH Industrial, which designs and produces agricultural and construction equipment.