On July 1st, 2021 Industrie Chimiche Forestali SpA acquired and incorporated the brand Morel, the related industrial branch and all personnel. President Guido Cami explains the strategies and future prospects after the agreement.
Industrie Chimiche Forestali SpA – listed on the AIM Italia market (organized and managed by Borsa Italiana), an international leader in the design, production and marketing of high-tech adhesives and fabrics – carried out a prestigious operation, namely the acquisition of Industria Chimica Morel Spa, a historic Milanese company specialized in the manufacturing and sale of textile components, toecaps, counters and reinforcements for the footwear and leather goods markets, mainly focusing on the luxury segment.
Guido Cami is very satisfied with this deal. At the end of Augus, the President and CEO of Industrie Chimiche Forestali SpA welcomed our editorial board with his overwhelming energy and positivity, at the company’s headquarters in Marcallo con Casone (Milano province), to tells us about the operation. “The brand Morel – he confirms – has joined ICF alongside the existing brands, namely Forestali, ABC and Durabond, specialized in the creation of technical products for different manufacturing and industrial applications. Morel is a historic company in Milan, founded in 1926, which designs and manufactures technical fabrics for footwear and leather goods. The brand is a byword of Italian quality, 4.0 automation and artisanal know-how. Its products are appreciated for their high technical features and quality raw materials, processed with wave-tech technology to enhance their mechanical properties. Brand, know-how, machines, systems, equipment and employees are part of the agreement, together with the operational and production activities, formulas, knowledge, warehouses, relationships with customers and suppliers.”
What does this agreement mean?
“First of all, it represents a fascinating aspect of two Italian companies, each boasting a hundred-year background, that merged to seek synergies at all levels and to become even stronger together in the global footwear and leather goods market. Formulas, recipes, know-how, craftsmanship, organization, innovative spirit, ethics, respect and ‘made in Italy’, are the main values that we have always shared with Morel and that we will carry forward together. However, there is also an ethical aspect between groups of employees who have been competitors until to June 30th while the day after they became colleagues that work together. Finally, this agreement also shows that, domestically, we are able to team up and work together without upsetting the knowledge of our work colleagues. The slogan that can sum up this operation is “When you’re united, you win and you have more fun.”
How did you manage to move the Morel machines and warehouse to the Forestali plant?
“Between April and May we planned even three shifts a day in the old Morel factory to build up stocks of finished products enough to supply customers in the following months. In June we started a massive industrial operation, setting the new factory here in Forestali and redesigning the layout of the warehouse: we built 1,200 more stock positions inside and found suitable spaces for the plants and equipment. This made possible to work together right on the day of the sign of the contract. Three days later all the Morel items had already been stored and inserted in the different shelves, and from the fourth day we started invoicing the products. This was made possible by the IT integration that the two companies are equipped with. In the meantime, on July 1st, at the Morel headquarters, the dismantling of all the plants and machinery began; in a few weeks they were brought to Forestali, where they were reassembled in the appropriate offices, to be immediately operational. In the meantime, between May and June we had started the long procedures for the completion of the request process and authorizations.
What are the requirements related to entrepreneurial strategies?
“We are convinced that we can expand the range of products to ensure development for both brands. The acquired team remained the same, now the employees of the two companies work together, even the managers are side by side in the office. For the moment we have not changed anything in the distribution network. Morel has remained so, therefore we will continue to sell products under this brand, as we did before. On the other hand, Morel needs no introduction, it is a leader in the sector, capable of supplying products that in recent years the market has always appreciated. I hope that the union of these two companies will allow overall growth in the next few years, giving Industrie Chimiche Forestali a completion together with the other brands of the group.”
What are your main goals?
“With this agreement, Morel will be able to take advantage of strategies that Industrie Chimiche Forestali has been pursuing for some time, at the same time ICF can be pushed by Morel for other aspects. In the “transfer” we have not given up on anyone, all the professionals keep on working with us and they will be able to do it without worries about the future. Starting with Dario Ferrario, who is the commercial director: he has been working in Morel since 1991, he boasts a thirty-year experience and he deeply knows products and customers. Through this integration, our total workforce has reached 145 units.”
Economically speaking, what is the situation of the group?
“Industrie Chimiche Forestali closed the first half of this year registering a +35% compared to 2020 and +6% compared to the same period in 2019, the second half of which the market had slowed down, even before the pandemic. It is important to underline that we have almost no more debts, despite the purchase of the large 65,000sqm building, where we currently work, worth 16 million euros. In July the Morel brand registered a turnover of 600,000 euros, a good figure considering it was only the first month. We have good prospects for September; at least we hope we took enough stocks to ‘survive’.”
Are you worried about the current economic situation?
“Looking at the medium-long term, I am quite confident; if I had to bet on Forestali’s future, I’d say that reasonably for the next 10-15 years the work will keep on being satisfying. Speaking about the turnover, I forecast highs and lows, as raw material’s prices skyrocketed in the last 12 months: we thought we had reached the top in June, seeing some drops in July, but from September we expect new increases, even double-digit ones, for some products. The situation is truly worrying just considering that steel has gone from 400 to 1,200 euros per ton. We hope prices will rebalance thanks to consumption recovery.”
Is your commitment to sustainable development improving?
“The basis is that we are called Forestali, the name comes from the forest, we are green by definition, even in the belly! We currently have four experts, two men and two women, who deal exclusively with sustainability. Respect for the environment and sustainable development have always been major aspects for our company. The first steps for the creation of an integrated company management system have been undertaken since 1997, when we relied on a quality management system in accordance with the UNI EN ISO 9001 standard, but above all when we joined Federchimica’s “Responsible Care” project, which represents the most important international sustainability initiative for companies in the chemical sector all over the world. The following year we were equipped with the Environmental Management System, in compliance with UNI EN ISO 14001, and in 2009 with the Safety Management System, in accordance with the OHSAS 18001 standard. From 2010 to date we have consolidated all the Management Systems achieved and applied the 231 model, while last year we published the first Sustainability Report, obtaining the Certification for the automotive sector IATF16949. In the last twenty years we have made great strides on the subject in all its aspects: economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability.”
Guido Cami, CEO