Italian denim brand Gas Jeans finds buyer, avoids bankruptcy
After a long period of uncertainty and difficulties, Gas Jeans is looking forward to gaining fresh impetus. The Italian denim brand based in Veneto has in fact found a buyer. Milano 1984 SpA, a company headed by CEO and entrepreneur Andrea Citterio, and owned by Citterio himself and Fortunato Bordin’s holding company Bordin Holding, has announced the acquisition of Grotto SpA, the parent company of long-established Italian denim brand Gas Jeans. According to local media, Grotto SpA was burdened with losses for €80 million.
The court in Vicenza issued its final ruling on the acquisition on May 6. With this operation, Grotto SpA’s property assets, the Gas Jeans brand and Grotto’s 140 employees come under the formal jurisdiction of Milano 1984, now the owner of all Grotto's assets, heading off the risk of bankruptcy for the company.
As was confirmed to FashionNetwork.com, the acquisition offer was consistent with the initial tender: Grotto was valued €17.5 million, including €2.5 million for its subsidiaries Esagon, which owns the Gas Jeans outlet stores, Laurentes and Gas Realience.
“I am very happy with the Vicenza court’s decision, which allows us, by means of an innovative business model, to revitalise an iconic brand that has given worldwide renown to Italian quality denim, and to contribute to the economic sustainability of the region where the company is located,” said Citterio. He added that “we have also bought [Grotto’s] long-standing property in Chiuppano, in the province of Vicenza, to show that we want to let the company continue to thrive where it was created.”
Citterio's business idea is based on a comprehensive plan to rejuvenate and relaunch the brand identity of Gas Jeans through a major, rapid overhaul of its business model, with the goals of tapping the company’s specific know-how and significantly expanding the brand’s presence on the global market.
Citterio is a finance and corporate investment specialist who holds stakes in and sits on the boards of a number of companies in different sectors, from fashion to robotics. Since 2015, he has been active in the lighting industry, as CEO and owner of Penta, Castaldi and Arredoluce, three companies he recently combined into a single entity named Auralis.
Citterio said he has hand-picked a number of top-notch senior executives for this project, on which he is working with Italian-Canadian businessman Fortunato Bordin and his son Andrew. Bordin owns several companies in the Canadian regions of Quebec and Ontario and, alongside Citterio, he intends to give a new lease of life to Gas Jeans, especially on the North American market. No member of the Grotto family is included the project.
Claudio Grotto had been active in the fashion sector since the 1970s, before founding Gas Jeans in 1984. The brand expanded internationally, establishing a presence in Europe, America and Asia. In the last decade however, Gas Jeans gradually lost momentum. Christiano Eberle, who steered the company during the last few troubled years, told the Italian media in 2020 that in 2019 Gas Jeans generated a revenue of €55 million.
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