First investment of the new fund of B4 Investimenti SGR S.p.A., which is investing in the sector of seats for public transport vehicles
The objective of the partnership with the management team of the Lazzerini Group is to consolidate world leadership on this niche market of a historical Italian company that already obtains over three quarters of its revenues overseas.
Milan, 1 October 2019
With the closing on 30 September 2019 at the firm Gianni Origoni Grippo Capelli & Partners, B4 Investimenti SGR S.p.A. finalised the first investment of the second FIA (Alternative Investment Fund) it manages and promotes (B4 H II – EuVECA Fund).
After a year of preparations, the B4 H II – EuVECA Fund has acquired control of the Lazzerini Group, through a buyout in partnership with the company’s top managers (Innocenzo Salvatore Carbone, Alessandro Cirioni and Vincenzo Lasalvia). The Lazzerini Group operates on a worldwide scale in the design, manufacture and marketing of passenger seats (and components) for public transport vehicles (mainly buses).
Lazzerini S.r.l. was founded in 1967 by Mr. Lazzerini in Monsano (in the Ancona province of Italy). It operates in a sector with global revenues of over Euro 2.5 billion, with significant historical and forecast growth rates (an annual rate of around 10%), thanks to (i) the trends associated with a sharing economy, (ii) the refitting of “vehicle fleets” resulting from research and development (in relation both to aspects linked to higher safety standards and to infotainment), and also (iii) major demand on the markets of the Far East.
In 1996, Lazzerini became part of the German group Grammer AG, which is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and operates in the manufacture of interior components (e.g. driver’s seats, instrument panels, vehicle control consoles, AC vents, etc.) for the automotive and agricultural sectors.
When Grammer AG was reorganised in 2007, the company was the subject of an MBO by the current top managers, the aim of which was to develop the historical Lazzerini brand.
In 2014, in order to develop the North American market and increase its own international footprint, the company set up the Lazzerini Corporation in the United States (in Elkhart, Indiana).
In March 2019, with a view to penetrating the markets of Oceania and South East Asia, the company acquired the Australian company Styleride Pty Ltd, a leader on its own domestic market.
The Lazzerini Group has grown at an average rate close to 10% over the last decade. In 2018, the Group recorded consolidated revenues (pro-forma, including the Australian business) in excess of Euro 27 million (of which around 75% overseas, on the principal geographical markets of the UK, Australia, Italy, Hong Kong and New Zealand) and an EBITDA margin of over 10%.
The aim of the partnership between the Lazzerini top management and B4 is to allow the Group to take a further 'step up' in growth and development and expand its presence abroad, primarily through development of the affiliates in the United States and Australia, and thus consolidate the position of Lazzerini as a successful global player on the passenger seat market (meaning buses, but also increasingly trains and special-purpose vehicles). The joint industrial plan on which the project is based will involve significant further strengthening of the management team, with the focus on international development, major investments in production, research and development and sales (particularly in the USA and Australia), with the ultimate aim of doubling revenues over the next three to five years. Other potential M&A options for international growth through external lines may also be assessed if the opportunity arises.
“A pocket-sized multinational with big ideas and the desire to conquer global markets is what we saw in Lazzerini, one of the many outstanding (and sometimes hidden) operators of the Italian entrepreneurial fabric – says Fabrizio Baroni, Founding & Managing Partner of B4 Investimenti SGR S.p.A. The strong tailor-made component, guaranteed quality, an extraordinary team of managers/entrepreneurs and the ability to innovate typical of the “made in Italy” brand make Lazzerini a point of reference on the market for passenger seats for public transport vehicles in both Italy and, above all, on foreign markets. One of the main challenges of this project will be consolidating the presence of the Lazzerini Group abroad, through development of the affiliates in the United States and Australia and penetration of new geographical markets.”
Innocenzo Carbone, the CEO and a company shareholder, says “we are thrilled to be continuing our journey at Lazzerini together with B4, whom we are certain will be an essential travelling companion on the route towards growth of the company and the group, as well as a further (and stimulating) challenge for the management team after the experience with Grammer and the period of administration after the management buyout. The key to our future growth in Italy, and on foreign markets above all, will be continuing to create innovative solutions and guaranteeing our customers the highest quality of materials and finishes, together with a pre- and after-sales service that remains a distinguishing and highly successful element for our Group.”
For B4 Investimenti SGR S.p.A, the operation was carried out by Fabrizio Baroni (Managing Partner), Beniamino Viscogliosi (Principal), Luca Amedeo Masobello (Investment Manager) and Adalberto Di Clemente (Associate). On the legal aspects, B4 Investimenti SGR S.p.A. was supported by attorneys Andrea Mazziotti of Celso and Ruggero Gambarota and Antonella Barbato of Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners. The due diligence was conducted with the assistance, respectively, of the financial due diligence team of PwC (Federico Mussi – Partner, Bianca Varcasia – Director and Luca Petroni – Manager) for the accounting and financial aspects, the tax team of PwC (Nicola Broggi – Partner, Flavia Barone – Director, Fabrizio Tenuta – Senior Manager) for the fiscal and employment law aspects and by the foreign firms Valla & Partners and Thomson Geer for the legal aspects, respectively in the Unites States and Australia. Studio Gusmitta assisted in the fiscal and corporate structuring of the operation.
Lazzerini and its shareholders were assisted by K Finance – Clairfield International (Antonio Scarabosio – Partner, Massimo Banfi – Director and Andrea Montalboddi – Analyst) as a financial advisor, by attorneys Alessandro Marena, Andrea Faoro and Alice Fazzioli of Pedersoli Studio Legale for legal issues and by Guido Cesarini of Sistema for accounting and fiscal aspects.
The BPER and Intesa San Paolo banks provided financing and support for the operation.