Words are important. They are extremely important, especially when we need them to describe meticulously a financial project we are most likely to talk about for a long while. More specifically, Rino Mastrotto, Matteo Mastrotto, his son, and Barbara Mastrotto, his daughter, are going to illustrate, in the following interview, the deal they signed with NB Renaissance at the beginning of August. They are going to explain its sense, its necessity and its future prospect. According to this agreement, the fund (created in 2015 through a partnership between Neuberger Berman and Intesa Sanpaolo) will join the leather-tanning group, based in the province of Vicenza, as a partner while taking 70% of the group’s capital assets. Rino Mastrotto will keep being the President, Matteo will still be the managing director and Barbara will still be in charge of the Automotive Division. Such deal is everything but a transfer, since several elements make it a unique case. Let us talk about it by listening to the key players of the story.
Rino Mastrotto: “We aim to enhance our corporate culture”
“We have experienced and we are still facing a rather complicated situation. Since the market is getting more and more competitive, our group, which is a balanced one, has begun wondering about the future”. By saying such words, Rino Mastrotto, founder of the leather-tanning group based in the province of Vicenza, started talking about the early steps that subsequently led to a partnership deal with NB Renaissance. “Our group has developed, over the years, an important culture and relationship with customers, suppliers, employees. We did not want to lose that at all”. Moving from this awareness, we decided to “seek and choose a partner to help us provide our company with a new organization and, at the same time, to support us on prospective investments we will have to carry out”. Which ones? “Research, most of all, related to environment and bio-sustainable products”. In addition, “in our industry we must be able to pursue innovation continuously, which can be risky sometimes”. That is why the partnership with NB Renaissance looks completely different at this point: “This fund is able to share our peculiarities alongside our passion, that is, to develop our company soundly. We have therefore created something new. We signed such deal to start a new management of our family business, while aiming to see the Group growing in the years to come”.
Matteo Mastrotto: “Investing in our DNA”
It is not a transfer then. Not at all. It is something else, as illustrated by Matteo Mastrotto: “This is a reinforcement project. In fact, a relevant capital share is still in our hands. The Mastrotto DNA is still here. Actually, such agreement is going to enhance it in a rather stimulating way: our new external partner will urge us to think differently, while setting a team to make the company even more competitive”. In 2015, RMG earnings amounted to 258 million euros; in 2018, they reached over 320 million euros. The deal will therefore reinforce such positive trend. Not to mention investments (“Since we always trusted in our company”): in 3 years, they invested 50 million euros “in technologies and processes, with regard to beamhouse operations and finishing, facilities and plants, research and development. NB Renaissance will provide us with a tailor-made outfit: that will enable us to keep focusing on the welfare of our company while setting long-term plans, as we expect employment to grow as well”.
Barbara Mastrotto: “Giving continuity to our attitude of mind”
Barbara Mastrotto focused on management: “They have brought new capital assets into the tanning industry in the last years. This is something new, which shows how solid our industry is. While dealing with us, NB first looked at figures; subsequently, during the due diligence period, they looked into our industrial and manufacturing identity. Therefore, they got to know the process, our strong points and, most importantly, people”. That is why “we can say that the partner we have chosen will enable us to give continuity to our attitude and mentality. They themselves want things to be this way. NB have traditionally liaised with family companies: they want our Group to keep being the way it is, while providing international connection and financial support”. On top of that, “a fair wind of innovation will positively affect corporate methods, governance and analysis models”.
The partnership deal between Rino Mastrotto Group and NB Renaissance turns out to be, then, kind of a company upgrading. “We aim at excellence – points out Matteo -. We have already gone through a generation turnover: we have now created a new family company model”. Here, remarks Barbara, product diversification “is a plus. In fact, our partner has considered us even more reliable since we supply footwear, leather goods, automotive and home furnishings. In addition, we control production from soup to nuts”. Our diversified production, adds Matteo, “urges us to diversify investments as well. If we focused all of them on one single area, we would change our identity. Conversely, investing in all areas gives us the opportunity to manage, in a timely manner, whichever market stage”. “This is the main reason why – remarks Barbara – we have set a development business plan, until 2022, further aiming at quality”. Will this plan offer any opportunities to expand in other areas as well, such as Tuscany for example? “We are open to all possible options – wraps up Rino Mastrotto –. Still we do not know what is going to happen in the next future. We are going to play as a group. If we realize something is missing and, at the same time, we pinpoint a few interesting solutions to build up some synergy projects, we shall consider them. We are just thinking about it anyway: you can’t take anything for granted”.
In the picture, left, Barbara, Rino and Matteo Mastrotto (credits: Rino Mastrotto Group)