The Zanatta family, which controls the Tecnica Group, has signed a letter of intent to allow Italmobiliare to acquire a minority stake of around 40 percent in Italy's leading supplier of outdoor shoes and ski equipment for a total investment of about €60 million. The investment, which will be primarily made through a capital increase, is intended to provide Tecnica with the means to reschedule its debt, to support its growth and to make higher investments in new product development and marketing that should allow it reach an annual turnover of €500 million in five years‘ time.

The family of Giancarlo Zanatta and his son Alberto will remain in control of the company, which owns brands like Tecnica, Nordica, Blizzard, Rollerblade and Moon Boot. The group also has a controlling interest in Lowa. In addition to its financial injection, Italmobiliare is also expected to provide input on strategic issues through a presence on Tecnica's board of directors if the deal is approved by regulatory authorities. Another condition for its involvement is a renegotiation by Tecnica of its relations with its bankers.

Last year, Tecnica made a turnover of €338 million, and more than 90 percent of that was generated outside Italy. Its Ebitda improved more than expected, reaching a level of €27 million, but the company continued to be saddled with a high, unspecified debt load, in spite of a previous refinancing program that had taken place in 2013.

Predicting that the group's sales will grow by at least 10 percent this year, Antonio Dus, who will remain in the chief executive's position, pointed out that the company's business plan calls for reaching a turnover of €500 million solely through organic growth, although acquisitions are not excluded under the new ownership. Dus, a former CEO of Vibram, launched the new business plan in January 2016, a few months after being appointed to his current post. He has already made many organizational changes, as we have reported before.

Italmobiliare is not an equity investment firm, and it's likely to remain a shareholder of Tecnica for the long run. It is a 71-year-old holding company, controlled by the Pesenti family, which tends to make long-term investments in entrepreneurial activities that offer potential for growth in sales and profits. It has invested mainly in civil engineering and other industrial operations, but also in banking and financial assets. With a current stock market capitalization of around €1.15 billion, it has been trading on the Milan stock exchange since 1980.