ROME, April 30 (Reuters) - The pandemic opened a new chapter in terms of M&A and Italy’s OTB expects to accelerate its long-time project to create an Italian luxury hub, the chief executive of the fashion group said on Friday.
The group, which owns brands including Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni and Viktor&Rolf, bought German label Jil Sander from Japanese retailer Onward Holdings in March.
CEO Ubaldo Minelli said the company was not only looking at acquiring fashion brands, but also at possibly buying firms in the production and distribution sectors.
“The company has all the tools - financial, organisational, managerial and from a capitalisation point of view - to press on with our project”, Minelli said at an online conference.
The chief executive explained that the Sander acquisition was part of OTB’s aim - “which starts way back” - to create a large portfolio of luxury brands, “something that many have tried but that only (OTB founder) Renzo Rosso has managed to do”.
The coronavirus crisis led to an unprecedented fall in fashion and luxury sales last year due to months of forced shop closures in all major markets and a slump in tourism following travel bans worldwide.
But the sector has also seen major investment and M&A deals, including the acquisition of a 24% stake in shoemaker Louboutin by Agnelli’s holding company Exor, and luxury down jacket maker Moncler buying smaller Italian high-end brand Stone Island.
In March Minelli told Reuters that even without acquisitions, OTB’s business plan to 2023 would still forecast annual sales increases in line with pre-pandemic guidance of 12% to 13%, thanks to strong growth in Asia and soaring online sales.
Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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