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Vittoria Group sold to Italy's Wise Equity fund

Published July 12, 2020

BREMBATE, Italy (BRAIN) — The owners of Vittoria Group, including founder and president Rudie Campagne, have sold the tire maker to Wise Equity, an Italian group.  

Campagne, who is 76, will retire this month. Wise Equity partner Stijn Vriends is being named president and CEO. 

Campagne bought the Italian company Vittoria Spa in 1990, when it was a small operation with fewer than 180 employees. Since then, the company has expanded to become one of the largest high-end tire makers in the world, with more than 1,300 employees producing more than 7 million tires a year. Annual sales are about 60 million euros ($68 million).

Besides its own brand of tires, wheels and other products, Vittoria produces tires for several other brands, most at its Lion Tyres factory in Bangkok, Thailand.

The company has been a leader in use of graphene in tires and other products, starting in 2015. Vittoria said the addition of graphene products led to a 15% increase in revenue since then.

The company said it needed capital and new leadership to "to become the undisputed number one in developing products and materials with disruptive technologies, so it can keep on providing the best bicycle tires and wheels out there."

Campagne will remain as non-executive in the Vittoria board and honorary chairman for life. Wise Equity is a private equity fund based in Milan. 

In announcing the acquisition, new CEO Vriends said he sees opportunity in urban mobility and e-bikes.

"It's more exciting than ever to be part of the ever-changing Urban Mobility landscape and our graphene tire technology, developed for sport bicycles, can now become our dominant competitive edge in the Urban bike category, as graphene tires are ideal for city and E-bikes which need long-endurance tires that don't run flat," he said.

Vittoria launched an e-bike tire line on June 30, with a tire compound the company said makes e-bike batteries last longer. 

Vittoria is moving its headquarters from the Netherlands to Italy, which Campagne said was always in the plans.

"Me and my partners eventually always wanted to bring the brand home to Italy, the cradle of the cycling world. Turning over the reins to Wise Equity therefore feels like the completion of a cycle," Campagne said. Vittoria recently built a 7 million euro headquarters, test center and warehouse in Bergamo.

Campagne, right, with Vriends.
Topics associated with this article: Mergers & Acquisitions

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