Style Capital investment fund buys Forte_Forte
Roberta Benaglia has unearthed another made-in-Italy nugget, which she is keen on fostering as successfully as she did with Twin-Set and Golden Goose. Benaglia's Style Capital investment fund has in fact acquired a majority stake in Italian ready-to-wear label Forte_Forte for an undisclosed amount.
Forte_Forte is a contemporary womenswear label distinctive for its flowing silhouettes and the quality of its soft, natural fabrics. It is a bijou company with a revenue of €15 million, over 70% of which is generated outside Italy, especially in France, the USA and Japan, via a network of 500 multibrand stores.
Forte_Forte was founded in 2001 in Sarcedo, close to Vicenza, by Giada Forte, who is in charge of style, and her brother Paolo, who looks after manufacturing. The founders have a strong background in apparel, inherited from their grandmother, who after WW2 set up a knitwear workshop which supplied among others Sonia Rykiel and Louis Vuitton, and they will continue to play an active role in the business.
Through their sophisticated product expertise, acquired working with local craftsmen and exclusive yarns, they quickly built a following among discerning clients, such as the Le Bon Marché department store in France. And France is the country chosen by Forte_Forte as the home of its first monobrand store, which is expected to open at the end of 2017 in Paris' Saint-Germain-des-Prés area.
"Even though Forte_Forte is still small, it is a smart company with an efficient, selective international distribution network. It also enjoys a strong brand identity thanks to its recognisable style, which has always remained consistent," wrote Roberta Benaglia in a press release. She is hoping to grow the label into a €50 million company in three years, by "opening a series of monobrand stores in major cities worldwide."
Style Capital is a private equity firm originally set up in 2005 under the name DGPA. It specialises in the lifestyle sector, investing in top-notch Italian companies, notably in SMEs active in the luxury fashion industry. In 2015, the firm changed its name and welcomed a series of new investors, among them Gaetano Marzotto, now its President. In the wake of this, it launched the new Style Capital investment fund, endowing it with €103 million. In the next three to five years the fund is planning to invest in five or six new ventures.
In 2008, DGPA invested in Italian label Twin-Set, which at the time was generating a revenue of €27 million. Four years later, in 2012, the label was worth over €100 million in revenue and was sold to US investment fund Carlyle.
Another profitable operation engineered by DGPA involved the acquisition of Golden Goose at the end of 2013. The label grew from a revenue of €20 million to €100 million in 2016, and was also recently bought by Carlyle.
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