Proraso products.

MILAN — Nuo Capital has acquired a 30 percent stake in the Ludovico Martelli company, which is controlled by the namesake family and operates the men’s grooming brand Proraso and toothpaste label Marvis, among others. The value of the deal amounted to 50 million euros, which were injected via capital increase.

An investment vehicle backed by Hong Kong’s Pao Cheng family and helmed by Stephen Cheng, Nuo Capital will support the growth of Ludovico Martelli’s portfolio internationally, with particular focus in Asia thanks to its strong network of private and institutional relationships in the Far East.

“Nuo Capital will accelerate our international development thorough organic growth boosted by marketing investments and acquisitions of selected targets,” said Ludovico Martelli’s chief executive officer Giovanni Galeotti, which will continue to helm the development of the company. The Martelli family will also maintain the majority stake and continue to cover management roles in the group.

Defining the firm as “the most promising Italian company in the personal-care sector,” Nuo Capital’s ceo Tommaso Paoli said the goal of the investment holding is to provide the brands “with more opportunities to thrive at a global level.”

Established in Florence in 1908, Ludovico Martelli launched the Proraso label in 1948. This is now considered one of Italy’s leading shave brands and boasts a strong awareness also in Germany, France, Spain and the U.S. In addition, the company consolidated its leading position in the personal-care industry disrupting the traditional perception of a toothpaste product by elevating its image through the Marvis brand, whose appeal is particularly strong in Asia. Other brands in portfolio include body care Kaloderma, shampoo line Schultz and soap label Valobra, which was acquired last year.

In 2018, Ludovico Martelli’s turnover amounted to 60 million euros. The company employs 120 people across its two Italy-based manufacturing plants. The brands are distributed in more than 60 countries, with sales generated outside Italy accounting for 30 percent out of total revenues.

GCA Altium, Gatti Pavesi Bianchi, Kpmg and Studio Chrea advised Ludovico Martelli on the transaction, while Nuo Capital was supported by Chiomenti, Bcg and Ernst Young.

Founded in 2016 by Stephen Cheng, Nuo Capital, which has offices in Milan, Luxembourg and Hong Kong, has invested in eight companies so far, including interior design label Sozzi Arredamenti and wine-maker Terra Moretti.

As reported, last year the investment holding also acquired a minority stake in Venetian high-end fashion company Slowear, which operates the Incotex trouser label — its first and largest brand — as well as Zanone knitwear, Glanshirt shirtmaker and Montedoro outerwear.

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