The Tecnica Group recorded a 3 percent increase in total sales to €394 million last year, generating a rather stable operating profit of around €35 million before amortization (Ebitda). Due to high amortization and financial charges, the group just about broke even for the year, but it did have positive cash flow.
The group sold a total of 2,670,000 pairs of outdoor shoes in 2011, or 6.7 percent more than in the previous year, making it one of the world's largest suppliers in this sector. It got out of the apparel category by selling off Think Pink, which was losing money, but it continues to develop the rather fashion-oriented apparel collection of Dolomite, which is likely to reach sales of almost €10 million this year.
Repositioned as a brand that is both technical and casual, and less performance-oriented than Tecnica, Dolomite was the star of the group last year. Its sales of outdoor shoes grew by 37.4 percent to more than 175,000 pairs, and its apparel line enjoyed similar growth.
Part of Dolomite's strong growth came from its fast development outside the Italian market – particularly in France, Switzerland, Austria and Japan. The brand has signed a new distribution deal with a large Korean conglomerate, Sejiung, starting with this year's deliveries, and it is re-entering the U.S. market, after an absence of more than ten years, with a completely new positioning.
As previously reported, Lowa, the German brand controlled by the group, raised its deliveries of outdoor shoes further by 5.7 percent last year to 2.08 million pairs, but it got out of ski boots. Sales of Tecnica branded outdoor shoes increased by only 2.0 percent to 416,500 pairs because of a clean-up of the distribution and other reasons.
While segmenting Tecnica's collection of outdoor shoes further, the company has decided to license out its more casual-oriented line of Tecnica shoes, called T-Shoes, to Stylgrand, another Italian footwear company that also has its own brand of technical outdoor shoes, Kefas, because it generated lower margins and was mainly sold in Italian shoe shops.
The very positive snow conditions of 2010 enabled the group to raise its sales of skis under the Nordica and Blizzard brands by 15 percent last year. Its sales of ski boots, where it has a much higher market share, went up by just over 4 percent, and they are expected to suffer a double-digit drop this year because of the very poor snow conditions during the past season. The production is being adapted accordingly by reducing the number of working hours and by raising the number of holidays.
Rollerblade saw its sales plunge by more than 8 percent in 2011, but this brand of inline skates is expected to return to the level of 2010 this year. It is enjoying good growth in the U.S. and expanding in distant markets such as Argentina and Brazil.
Alberto Zanatta, the 43-year-old son of Giancarlo Zanatta, has been running the whole group as chief executive since last November, taking over the responsibility from his father, who is 30 years older. He was previously in charge of the Tecnica brand alone.