MILAN — Nice Footwear is growing beyond just shoes.
The Italian shoemaker, which went public last November on the Euronext Growth Milan, the segment of the Milan Bourse dedicated to small and medium-sized companies, said Wednesday that it has acquired an 80 percent stake in Emmegi Srl, a Padua, Italy-based manufacturer of women’s handbags positioned in the premium segment, for 480,000 euros.
Nice Footwear described the acquisition as a further step to dip its toes into luxury following the takeover last July of Favaro Manifattura Calzaturiera, a Veneto-based luxury footwear manufacturer.
As part of the deal Nice Footwear and Emmegi are entitled to exercise their “call option” and “put option,” respectively. In particular, the shoemaker could increase its shareholding as high as 100 percent within the next three years.
The market rewarded the shoemaker for the acquisition as shares traded up 1.60 percent to 12.70 euros at the end of trading.
Founded in 1977 in Maserà di Padova, in the Veneto region, a manufacturing hub, known for its footwear, leather goods and knitwear expertise, Emmegi had 2020 revenues of 1.8 million euros, the most recent figures available.
“The acquisition falls within our diversification strategy aimed at completing our product offering,” Bruno Conterno, chief executive officer of Nice Footwear, told WWD. “We’re aiming to integrate [Emmegi’s] production processes with Favaro’s, as they share the same positioning,” he added.
Established by the entrepreneur in 2004, the Vicenza, Italy-based Nice Footwear designs and produces shoes for a range of firms, as well as for several in-house and licensed brands. They include ’80s soccer and basketball label Kronos, as well as Avirex, Ellesse, Conte of Florence, Lotto, whose collections are designed, manufactured and distributed under license, and G-Star Raw, for which the company serves as distributing partner. The company distributes its collections from two showrooms, both opened in 2019, which are located on Milan’s Via Montenapoleone and in Hong Kong.
Despite the pandemic, the company has had a busy 2021.
“As in all crises and critical contexts, there are always opportunities to exploit,” Conterno said. “Our technological backbone and R&D approach have secured a competitive advantage.”
Nice Footwear produces all its shoe collections in Chinese factories, which are coordinated by a local subsidiary that opened in 2020. At the company’s headquarters in Vicenza, the footwear firm develops the designs through the use of patented 3D software. This, used together with virtual reality, offers precise renderings to clients.
Backing two Italy-based manufacturers, the company is aiming to establish a premium accessories pole in the northeastern Veneto region. “In addition to the financial and business value of the operations, it’s a step toward the preservation of Made in Italy, in the country and in the [Veneto] area, which could be undermined by the lack of size or of financial muscles,” Conterno said.
To this end, he didn’t rule out taking over other businesses with manufacturing prowess. Nice Footwear is consolidating its structure and, Conterno said, aiming to re-shore part of its production from Asia, especially for products in the high-end segment.
“We remain committed to being a global enterprise with an Italian DNA…but there’s room for partial re-shoring,” he said.