With F.lli Cerruti, Gruppo Piacenza wants to become a pole of reference in luxury wollen textiles
Gruppo Piacenza is more than ever the specialist in high-end woollen textiles. With its ancestral know-how dating back to 1733, the historic Italian spinning mill located not far from Biella, the cradle of the wool industry, has just acquired F.lli Cerruti. This comes just two years after having acquired Lanificio Piemontese in 2020, another spinning mill in the region and almost one year after the death of the entrepreneur and designer Nino Cerruti.
"Cerruti is a beautiful name. My family has always been close to Nino, and the idea of taking over the mill was a natural one for us. This acquisition is a good way for us to grow our group. Our goal is to become the reference point for luxury woollen textiles," says brand manager Vasiliy Piacenza, representing the 14th generation of the family business, which he manages with his father Carlo, managing director, and his brother Ettore, general manager.
"Our family started in the wool trade in 1623, and then began to make woolen fabrics. In 1733 we built our first spinning mill in Pollone, located less than 10 kilometers from Biella. In the 1970s, we built a new structure, where we settled. In the 1990s we launched Piacenza 1733, a men's ready-to-wear line in cashmere and noble fibers. We have a completely vertical process from the manufacture of the yarns to the realization of the fabrics", he continues.
For an amount it does not wish to disclose, the Piacenza Group has taken over 100% of the F.lli Cerruti textile business, 20% from the Cerruti family and 80% from the Norwegian investment fund Njord Partners. The fund had bought the company in 2018 and at the time, the 2017 sales amounted to 70 million euros. Sales have since plunged and are now around 20 million euros, while the workforce has fallen from 320 to 210 people. The fund has kept the business of the ten or so outlets, through the LFC Outlets company, which distributes the men's and women's clothing brand Il Lanificio.
Specializing in noble fibers such as wool, alpaca, vicuna, cashmere, angora and more, Piacenza will of course play on synergies. Lanificio Piemontese, which has a turnover of 6.5 million euros, will integrate the F.lli Cerruti structure, where all its teams will be transferred. The group, which employs about 275 people and has a turnover of 52 million euros, will therefore have two sites, its own in Pollone and that of Cerruti in Biella, not far from each other. Piacenza will also integrate Cerruti's Hong Kong and Tokyo offices into its group, and reorganize the company's management, as the mill's general manager Filippo Vadda left following the takeover.
"We are very complementary, since historically, we have always been specialized in women's fabrics, while Cerruti was specialized in men's fabrics," says Vasiliy Piacenza. The entrepreneur hopes to revive the sale of men's fabrics to tailors, especially for custom-made products, for which Cerruti is renowned, without forgetting the manufacture of fabrics for big luxury brands. Gruppo Piacenza currently supplies between 250 and 300 brands, mainly in Europe in Italy and France, then in Asia and the United States.
At the same time, the company has been repositioning its ready-to-wear line Piacenza 1733 for the past year. The range of knitwear, textile accessories and high-end sleeved pieces has been completely redesigned by the Chicago-based creative duo Jan & Carlos, who have been in charge of design since Fall/Winter 2022/23. Distribution has also been revamped. The label currently has close to 220 top multi-brand clients, plus its online store.
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