Prada invests in Tuscan tannery Conceria Superior
Prada continues to invest in its production chain. As rising costs highlight the importance for the luxury industry to control its supply chain, the Milanese company has announced the acquisition of 43.65% of the historic Conceria Superior, one of the leaders in the high-end industry in Italy for tanning calf skins, and whose clients include some of the biggest luxury houses, from Chanel to Dior to Louis Vuitton.
According to a press release, "the agreement provides that the management responsibility remains in the hands of Stefano Caponi, the current managing director". It was his grandfather, Cesare, who founded Conceria Superior in 1962.
From 46 employees in 2008, it has expanded to over 120 today, becoming one of the top five calf skin tanning factories in Italy. Located in Santa Croce sull'Arno, between Pisa and Florence, it achieved in 2019, in the pre-Covid year, a 54-million-euro turnover.
The deal, the amount of which was not disclosed, strengthens the partnership established between the two companies several years ago. Conceria Superior expanded, in fact, in 2014 through the acquisition, via a joint venture with Prada, which holds 60% of the shares, of a French tannery. Located in Isle, in the French region of Limoges, the tannery specializes in lamb skins tanning, in particularly “plongé nappa” leather, a traditional technique special to the region of central France.
In addition, the tannery has "invested in the digitalisation of processes and in a sustainable development plan based on a circular economy, energy efficiency and the preservation of water resources". It has developed a project with the University of Pisa aimed at reducing the use of water and chemicals, particularly chromium.
This operation represents "another important step in the strategic path of vertical integration of the group's production chain, with investments in infrastructure and people to increase our industrial know-how as well as quality control along all stages," Prada's managing director Patrizio Bertelli said in the statement.
"This operation will allow us to accelerate on important issues such as the traceability of raw materials and the transparency of our supply chain," he added. In June 2021, the Milanese house joined forces with the Piedmontese luxury group Zegna to take over a spinning mill, the Italian company specializing in the production of Filati Biagioli Modesto cashmere. On this occasion, the head of Prada, which has 23 production sites and employs around 13,000 people, spoke of the need to "preserve the know-how and the age-old tradition of Italian excellence".
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