MILAN — Italian entrepreneur Matteo Marzotto has embarked on another fashion project, but this time he has turned his attention to Italian craftsmanship and the special, high-quality components that differentiate luxury goods brands.
With two business partners, he has formed Ambria Holding and taken majority stakes in Italian companies Zeta Catene and Galvanica Formelli, both located in the Arezzo, Tuscany area. Zeta Catene produces more than 2,000 types of chains of different shapes, sizes and materials, such as brass and silver, as accessories for bags and shoes. Galvanica Formelli offers metal details, components and galvanic treatments for fashion accessories.
“Over the years, I noticed the incredible skills of our Italian artisans, but at the same time, there is a general lack of unity, while I believe that through integration, we can become specialists in the supply chain,” contended Marzotto.
This is an industrial, not a financial project, he underscored, aiming at improving efficiency in general and in the management of costs, offering clients “improved quality, service and lead time, adding value through integrated synergies.”
Better components make for better quality of accessories, Mazotto continued. “Fashion brands are not merely looking at containing costs, seeking for best-priced components. On the contrary, designers know that precious details will make the difference in the end quality and they seek precious materials and excellent service. And designers are happier if they can see different and more complex variations of the components.”
Marzotto declined to reveal the amount spent on the acquisitions, but said Ambria Holding will invest more than 5 million euros in the first year on the development of the project. For starters, the holding has acquired a new site near Arezzo to expand production, in addition to the two existing plants. Zeta Catene and Galvanica Formelli totaled 20 million euros in sales, with a solid profitability, he offered.
Marzotto has taken on the role of president of the holding, while his partner Marco Casoni is the chief executive officer. Marzotto and Casoni, a former Dondup and Marni executive, have worked together for years, first at Valentino and then at Vionnet. The third partner is Michele Paris.
The investment continues to be channeled in the fashion sector, “but from a different point of view, one that offers a lot of potential,” said Marzotto. With his visibility and stance in the industry, it is likely he will promote the new holding with fashion brands. Bound by privacy agreements, Marzotto declined to provide the names of the luxury labels Zeta Catene and Galvanica Formelli have been working with for years.
Several major brands have invested in acquisitions in the supply chain, from Prada and the Ermenegildo Zegna Group to Gucci, Chanel and Hermès.
Marzotto in November 2018 resigned from the role of vice president of IEG Italian Exhibition Group, the trade show operator that originated from the merging of Fiera di Vicenza and Rimini Fiera in 2016. He was previously president of Fiera di Vicenza, relaunching and revitalizing jewelry trade show VicenzaOro. “That experience offered me a lot of visibility into Italian craftsmanship and many of these luxury components could be compared to jewels,” he said.
Marzotto is a former investor in Vionnet and, before that, he was chairman of Valentino. He is president of contemporary premium and denim brand Dondup. Asked about the rumors about its owner, private equity fund L Catterton mulling a sale, he declined to comment. Marzotto, who has a minority stake in the brand, has been revising its distribution, spearheading a product expansion, bringing the brand’s children’s line in-house, and boosting communication.
According to speculation, the Made in Italy fund, managed by Quadrivio and Pambianco, is eyeing an acquisition of Dondup, as reported, and the transaction could be finalized by the end of next week, sources say.
Stakes in Dondup were acquired by the European arm of L Capital in 2009 and then by L Capital Asia in 2015. (L Capital is now part of L Catterton.)