“We are looking for ‘distresses’ companies that we can gain majority shares in, to bring our management know-how to them. Even footwear. Not brands to integrate our supply chain, but brands with a strong heritage and identity, but that have little fight left. Not necessarily Italian. We also like French ones”. Marco Palmieri (on the right in photo) CEO of Piquadro, is looking for next target after the near hit of Sergio Rossi, confirming that the group continues to look. “We liked it, we worked a lot with them and were hoping to close. Then the Chinese entered the game and bought it”, explains Mr. Palmieri in this exclusive interview we did yesterday at the presentation of Mipel Lab (on the left in photo), at Pitti Uomo.
How do you see the market? Does the “largest” one win?
The “largest” one is winning, but I hope that won’t always be the case. There will be niche markets with more sophisticated products, research ones, as well as ones with increased craftmanship. In a while, when we will all be wearing the same thing, consumers will look for something more sophisticated.
What is the greatest present concern?
The ignorant M&A operations. Too many times PE funds enter companies without having the competencies to properly run them. They tend to have a short-term vision, leading to a mechanism that doesn’t always produce value, particularly for small companies.
What does the market need?
To normalize the anomalies emerging from the disparity between supply and demand, even within the chain. That’s what’s needed to create value from within. And if the chain gains ground, then the benefit is shared. We also need more controls over unfair competition.
Government or no-government?
Should vigilance of the chain be done by the government of by companies?
It should be a mix of the two. An entrepreneur must follow certain rules, but not all vigilance activities can be given to entrepreneurs, because it’s complicated. If he/she is dishonest, he/she may even find success in this system. Honest ones may be forces to close down or exit the marketplace. No entrepreneur should have direct control over the laboratories to which the manufacturing process is entrusted.
What would you want from the government?
Certain rules. Entrepreneurs must know what to control. The Government says that owners must keep vigilant, but they don’t tell them what and how to do so. This is also a valid point for the topic of sustainability, for which there are currently no parameters or criteria.
Give us an example?
I will tell it from experience. We tried to create a recycled product. In the end, I asked my collaborators: what exactly was recycled and who said it was? The product reached the stores tagged “60% recycled”, but customers thought it was too little and didn’t buy it. Others don’t share the exact percentages, and there is no rule that says “this can be called recycled, while this other cannot”. Should we discuss sustainability reports?
We make one, but there often aren’t any serious goals that are mapped, certain and with solid data. Every entity says its own view. Serious companies are confused, while other love the context. We should all play by the same rules.
Piquadro is looking for a brand
Will you acquire any brand after the near hit of Sergio Rossi?
We liked it, we worked a lot with them and were hoping to close. Then the Chinese entered the game and bought it. We tend to like shoes, generally speaking…
Piquadro is looking for something with which to create synergies and value. We closed two acquisitions in the last 4 years: The Bridge and Lancel and we re-organized brands and made them more profitable. We are looking for ‘distresses’ companies that we can gain majority shares in, to bring our management know-how to them. These can be footwear companies, or entities that have a strong heritage and identity, but that have little fight left.
Not necessarily. We also like French ones.
Within the supply chain?
No: we are looking for brands.