Aug 27, 2021
WHP Global buys rights to Italian sportswear label Lotto
Aug 27, 2021
US group WHP Global, based in New York, has acquired the worldwide rights to sportswear label Lotto, with headquarters in Treviso, Italy, and led by Andrea Tomat. The two partners have announced the operation in a joint press release, in which they indicated that the agreement “brings significant financial resources to LSI [Lotus Sport Italia], for the development of the brand globally.”
The operation, carried out under the auspices of Italian public investment bank Mediobanca, will enable Lotto to offset about 50% of its current debt, amounting to approximately €100 million.
The latest available figures, dating from 2019, showed a loss of €10.2 million, with sales slumping to €66 million - compared to €79 million the previous year - and debts for some €70 million.
“We are scaling back our debt to acceptable levels, and we will have financial resources available,” said Tomat, adding that “not only does this alliance allow us to significantly cut our debt and put a problem behind us, but it provides us with a solid platform for growth, helping us exploit two opportunities that have arisen simultaneously: a major deal in China with DFHH, which operates a powerful online sales organisation, and one with FLO, one of the largest footwear distributors in Turkey.”
According to WHP, Lotto products have a strong potential for growth on the US market, which currently accounts for 18% of the sales generated by the Italian sportswear label worldwide. “Our immediate objective is to broaden [Lotto’s] distribution in the United States and in leading global markets,” said Yehuda Shmidman, CEO of WHP Global, cited in the press release.
Lotus Sport Italia (LSI) will continue to manage the Lotto brand in its main markets: Italy, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It will also work jointly with WHP on product design and development, as well as marketing and brand management for Lotto's 50 other international partners.
With the goal of accelerating Lotto’s expansion in the ‘performance’ category, WHP and LSI will invest together to expand the label’s presence in new markets, strengthening the main product categories and activating the e-tail channel, which is still largely untapped, and forging partnerships with athletes of global standing.
Lotto is a long-established Italian sportswear brand. In the course of its 45-year history, it has outfitted great footballers like Dino Zoff, Italy’s World Cup-winning captain, and top tennis players like Boris Becker. Lotto is currently endorsed by more than 40 football teams and over 200 tennis professionals in some 40 countries. Among them, current world number 8 Matteo Berrettini.
Tomat said that the deal with WHP is the result of “a year-long work, since [Lotto’s] recovery project began before Covid, but then things got a little complicated” owing to the pandemic and the lockdowns that hampered sales and negatively affected revenue results. 2021, said Tomat, “will be another tough year.” He added that “there are timid signs of recovery but we remain cautious,” and said he is confident “in a return to normality, even if the process will be slow.”
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