Italian ophthalmology leader, SIFI SpA welcomes the partnership with Gruppo 21, the Private Equity mid-market leader founded and managed by Alessandro Benetton, in order to support its international growth strategy.
Catania, April 21st 2015 - 21 Investimenti, the European group founded and managed by Alessandro Benetton has carried out the first investment of its new fund “21 Investimenti III” in Sicily,in theItalian ophthalmologyleader, SIFI.
The Chines family, along with sisters Laura, Maria Grazia and Silvia Benanti,as majority shareholders, have reached binding agreements with “21 Investments”to jointly pursue the international growth strategy of the Italian ophthalmology sector leader.
Based in Catania, with one of the largest and most effective sales forces in the market and with a portfolio of products that covers the majority of eye disorders and conditions, SIFI ranks number three in the domestic market, behind two multinational firms and ahead of other national and international pharmaceutical companies.
The management team, lead by Executive Chairman Fabrizio Chines, is made up of professionals with broad and international experience, who have steered the company’s growth in the past few years, reaching a turnover of about 70 million Euros in 2014 and a 20% EBITDA.
The development project with 21 Investimenti includes the launch of new products addressing unmet ophthalmic medical needs and the international growthof the company – whose export business represents already 30% of the turnover – with the objective to create a European player in Eye Care. The company makes significant investments in research and development, runs a manufacturing plant inAci Sant'Antonio (CT), Italy, featuringstate-of-the-art equipmentand technology.
Part of the investment is concerned with the buyout of minority shareholders (the Cav. Giuseppe Benanti family), no longer involved in the company’s management in the past few years.
Alessandro Benetton stated: “In Europe, Italy is second only to Germany for the value of its pharmaceutical output with 28 billion Euros, 71% of which come from exported products. This represents the feather in the cap of the sector, considering that between 2008 and 2013 pharmaceutical exportshave grown by 64% compared to the 7% of the average manufacturing sector. SIFI is the leader in the ophthalmic market and is the first investment made by our new fund. After becoming part of the Farnese Group in 2013, 21 Investmenti continues to believe in the South of Italy, investing in Italian enterprises with a strong growth potential. Our model – he adds – is to support entrepreneurs in a new development pathway, through investments in innovation and technology, strengthening of the management team and penetration into new markets. The combination of our experience and SIFI’s strengths will ultimately turn an excellence of our Made in Italy into one of the international leaders of its market”.
Fabrizio Chines stated: “In the 80th anniversary of SIFI’s foundation, I am delighted about our partnership with 21 Investimenti, which will allow us to further invest in our international development and in new technologies. Their proven experience in sustaining the growth of mid-sized Italian enterprises gives us confidence for the next stage of our Group’s growth and reassures on our ability to accomplish our mission to provide ophthalmologists and their patients with innovative therapeutical solutions.”
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