Italy's Morellato not for sale, eyes other domestic brands: CEO

Sun Sep 8, 2013 4:13am EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

VICENZA, Italy (Reuters) - Italian jewelry and watch maker Morellato Group is not for sale and hopes to add other domestic brands to its portfolio, chief executive Massimo Carraro said.

The global financial crisis, which sapped consumer demand for luxury goods and dried up finance, has turned many Italian jewelers into targets or put some out of business altogether.

"We are not interested in selling. We see our role as that of an aggregator of brands that have a strong 'Made in Italy' identity," Carraro told Reuters in a phone interview on the sidelines of the VicenzaORO jewelry trade fair.

Italy's jewelry manufacturing sector is very fragmented, made up of some 9,000, mostly small and family-owned firms. Both small and big players have become the target of buyers, mainly from abroad, looking for long-term high-value brands.

Morellato, now owned by Carraro and his brother Marco, began in 1930 as a maker of watch straps, but grew into a leading watch and jewelry maker thanks to a string of acquisitions. Today, the group is Italy's largest all Italian-owned jeweler.

One recent buy was that of silver brand Pianegonda.

"Pianegonda is an example of a brand which has suffered during the crisis and which we bought to give it a domestic and international perspective," Carraro said.

"Our strategy focuses on the brands, not on price. It's not about growing in size or buying companies which may be cheap at the moment. It's about finding projects that offer a value at an international scale."   Continued...