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Marcolin Continues Solid Growth in Sales, Profitability

MILAN — Marcolin is reaping the rewards of the strategy set in motion over the past few years, according to chief executive officer and general manager Fabrizio Curci.

Commenting on the Italian eyewear company’s growth in sales and profits, Curci said “we faced these years of great complexity with a clear vision and well-defined objectives, implementing a growth plan based on the optimization of the processes, commercial investments, rationalization of the partnerships, operative digitalization and sustainability.”

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The executive said this strategy “continues in 2024 with the ambition to further consolidate our portfolio, which already today covers all the most important segments, and to pursue the efficiency of all the operational activities.”

Despite the global political instability and logistical complexity, in 2023 Marcolin succeeded in consolidating its performance, “continuing the process of virtuous growth undertaken in recent years,” the company said Tuesday.

In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, Marcolin revenues increased 2 percent to 558.3 million euros compared with 547.4 million euros. At constant exchange rates they rose 3.8 percent.

Including nonrecurring costs, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization climbed 27.9 percent to 78.1 million euros, with a margin of 14 percent on sales, compared with 61 million euros in 2022.

The group also returned to profit, recording net earnings of 10.2 million euros. This compares with a net loss of 5.8 million euros in 2022, with a recovery by the first half of 2023, when net profit amounted to 15.5 million euros.

Adjusted operating profit jumped to 52.8 million euros from 33.5 million euros in 2022.

In 2023, Marcolin finalized two key strategic transactions, including securing the perpetual license agreement for Tom Ford eyewear.

Backstage at Tom Ford Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week
Backstage at Tom Ford Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week.

It also acquired independent eyewear brand Ic! Berlin GmbH. The brand, founded in Berlin in 1996, manages the design, prototyping and production of luxury sun and prescription frames internally.

As per the closing agreement, Marcolin is integrating around 140 Ic! Berlin employees mainly located in the headquarters of the German capital, into its production plant and in the two branches in Japan and the U.S.

The goal of the acquisition for Marcolin is to increase its expertise in metal craftsmanship and to expand its portfolio of luxury brands, at the same time strengthening its commercial position in key regions such as Asia and Europe.

Web Eyewear is the other Marcolin proprietary brand, which is a segment that is considered strategic for the company.

In addition to Tom Ford, the company produces eyewear collections for brands ranging from Zegna, Bally, Moncler and Max Mara to Tod’s, Pucci, Guess, Timberland and Adidas Original, to name a few.

Marcolin also boosted its presence in the Central American market through the acquisition of the residual 49 percent from minorities of its subsidiary in Mexico.

In 2023, Marcolin continued to grow in Asia, reporting an 81.5 percent increase in revenues to 43.5 million euros, representing 7.8 percent of the total.

The Europe, Middle East and Africa area grew 1.7 percent to 264.5 million euros, accounting for 47.4 percent of the total.

Sales in the Americas decreased 4.8 percent to 221. 2 million euros, accounting for 39.6 percent of the total. The Rest of the World area was down 5.7 percent to 29.1 million euros.

The adjusted net financial position stood at 344.4 million euros, increasing by 178.2 million euros compared to the previous year due to the strategic investments mentioned above, financed both by available cash and by good cash flow generation during 2023 deriving from operations and finally through a new 30 million euro term loan.

Between the end of 2023 and the first few months of 2024, Marcolin revealed the license renewals with Pucci, Zegna, GCDS and Max & Co. The group has also entered into an exclusive license agreement with Christian Louboutin, which will debut its first eyewear collections in 2025.

Backstage at Zegna Men's Fall 2024
Backstage at Zegna Men’s Fall 2024

Speculation has resurfaced about leading private equity firm PAI Partners looking to exit Marcolin. This would not be surprising since PAI Partners acquired a majority stake in Marcolin in 2012 — way beyond a fund’s usual exit time frame. Marcolin and Tom Ford‘s license dates back to 2005 and sources believe this could be a significant additional asset for a potential buyer, given the success of the brand’s eyewear. Neither PAI Partners nor Marcolin is commenting on the rumors, which include EssilorLuxottica and Kering said to be eyeing Marcolin. The latter speculation, however, seems inconsistent since Marcolin’s business is mainly based on the licensing model, while Kering Eyewear’s is not — unless the Tom Ford agreement, which is highly successful, could be enough to tip the scale into a deal.

PAI Partners bought Marcolin, which was founded in 1961 and is based in Longarone, in Italy’s Veneto region known for being an eyewear manufacturing hub, from a number of investors who included the Marcolin family and brothers Diego and Andrea Della Valle, and delisted the company.

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