Aksìa’s Sara Perillo: New acquisition Gommatex Spalmati is ‘at the forefront’ of ESG

Gommatex Spalmati completes Aksìa Group’s portfolio in the Italian excellences sectors.

Aksìa Group plans to scout the market for complementary companies for the firm’s latest acquisition, Gommatex Spalmati, according to Sara Perillo, partner, and Federica Forte, senior investment manager.

In early August, Aksìa announced it had bought a majority stake in sustainable fabrics producer Gommatex Spalmati, via Aksìa Capital V Fund.

Prato, Italy-based Gommatex Spalmati specialises in the production of high-quality, sustainable and customisable coagulated and coated fabrics for use by major fashion and luxury brands. In 2021, Gommatex launched a new solvent-free product, Akkadueo Bio, to reduce pollution caused by traditional dimethylformamide production.

Luxury is a new addition to Milan-headquartered Aksìa’s portfolio. “This acquisition has enabled the completion of our portfolio in this context of Italian excellences sectors,” Perillo told PE Hub Europe.

Completing the set was not the only driver behind the deal. “Luxury has always been a very resilient sector, as demonstrated during the covid outbreak, and is expected to confirm this capability also in case of a recession scenario,” Perillo explained.

Aksìa considers Gommatex to be well positioned in the high-end luxury sector, and “at the forefront” for ESG aspects. This, combined with the company’s unique product offering, will create a positive growth momentum for the company, according to Perillo.

Initially, Aksìa will focus on growing the core business. This includes the introduction of new products and new collections, such as new fabrics to “enlarge the clients’ portfolio, along with increase the share of wallet of existing ones”, Perillo said.

The second direction Aksìa is eyeing for Gommatex is to internalise some strategic competencies through M&A. “We’ll scout the reference market for acquisitions of complementary companies, including, for example, companies offering different products or performing finishing activities currently not offered by Gommatex,” Perillo said.

Perillo does not exclude potential strategic acquisitions in the technology and R&D spheres as a way to increase competitiveness. “This allows you to be more creative, to launch and propose new ideas.”

Most of the acquisitions will be in Italy, in the industrial district near Florence, which is “a strategic point of reference for the main high-end luxury brands”, said Perillo. France, or potentially even further afield, could be considered, if something very specific matching Gommatex’s needs comes along.

Family values

Gommatex’s focus on sustainability was a key driver behind the deal. Forte said that Gommatex has a leading position in meeting sustainability regulations in the textile production business. Aksìa plans to leverage this competitive advantage to acquire new clients and enlarge the wallet share of existing clients. “We are able to offer something new that no one else has on the market,” Forte added.

Forte also values the trust Gommatex’s founding family, the Giovanellis, have placed on Aksìa. The family retained a minority stake in the business. “I think that’s extremely important because they believed in Aksìa as a financial sponsor, and they decided to go on with us for the next phase of growth.”

For more on the luxury sector, read Craig McGlashan’s story on BC Partners and Bain Capital entering joint ownership of Fedrigoni, a producer of special papers for packaging, graphics, print and art.