Moleskine began life in 1997 in Milan, paying homage to the bound notebooks carried by writers like Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin. By 2006, when Syntegra invested in the company, it had 20 employees and annual sales of €20m. Thanks to private equity funding and support, Moleskine has become a global brand, selling its products in more than 100 countries and employing over 250 staff.
Moleskine’s range now encompasses notebooks, diaries, journals, bags, writing instruments and reading accessories, and with Syntegra’s support, it opened operations in North America and Asia. In April 2013 Moleskine listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, becoming only the third company to do so since 2011. The move underscored Moleskine’s international reputation and positioned the company for further growth.
Syntegra has supported a programme of investments that has greatly increased brand awareness, accessibility and offering. This has been delivered in the context of a genuine commitment to the long-term development of the business and the wellbeing of all involved in it.
Arrigo Berni CEO, Moleskine
What did the business need?
- Stronger management team suited to a rapidly-growing company
- Improved focus on product development: paper and non paper products
- To expand into new markets, particularly Asia and North America
How did private equity backing create lasting value?
- Recruited new CEO and strengthened management team
- Improved IT systems and internal processes
- Made large investments in organisation, brand and marketing
- Expanded and optimised distribution network to deliver increased in-store presence
- Developed new direct sales channels, such as Moleskine shops and online sales
- Supported the company in addressing environmental, social and governance matters
What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?
- Reached more than 100 countries, with 50% of sales achieved in US and Asia
- Increased sales by an average of 22% a year, with company revenues reaching €98.7m in 2014
- Created over 200 jobs, bringing staff numbers to over 250
- Increased operating profits by 20% a year during investment period, hitting €34m in 2014