Neo Capital buys stake in Valextra

LThe deal has been confirmed, ending weeks of rumours in the matter. Neo Capital has taken a stake in Valextra, a luxury leather goods company founded in Milan in 1937. In a press release, the Italian company announced that Neo Capital, a London-based investment firm founded by David Belhassen, has taken a stake in the company by means of a capital increase, though financial details were not disclosed.

According to the Financial Times, Neo Capital could own as much as 60% of the company, which had been bought by current CEO Emanuele Carminati Molena in 2000. Molena will remain president of the company, but operations will be taken over by Marco Franchini, recently named CEO of the company.

The Valextra head office in Milan

The new CEO had previously spent eight years at Gucci where he was managing director for Europe. More recently, he held the position of CEO at Bally, where he stayed for seven years. “Valextra is a fantastic brand with a unique heritage,” says Franchini.

The company, which produces hand-crafted goods in Lombardy, reported turnover of 13.5 million euros in 2012. Valextra’s flagship store and head office are located on via Manzoni in Milan. The brand also has six stores in Japan – its major international market – and six in South Korea. The brand is also present in several prestigious department stores including Le Bon Marché in Paris, Selfridges in London and Barney’s in the United States.

Neo Capital is specialized in the development and internationalization of brands. The investment firm took its first steps into luxury when it bought stake in British perfumery brand Miller Harris. Valextra is the company’s first step into the world of fashion. Previous success stories to stem from Neo Capital include French bakery Paul, macaroon-maker Ladurée and the French florist chain, Monceau Fleurs. In Italy, the British firm also has a stake in restaurant chain Obika.

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