As indicated in our last issue, Italia Holding Moda (IHM) is the new company set up by Cleto Sagripanti together with a local investor from the airport business to take over and develop promising small and medium-sized Italian brands of shoes and other accessories. It has started operating by acquiring the brand name and other selected assets of Alberto Fermani, a brand of women's shoes from the Marche region that had gone into liquidation because of the economic crisis and the death a year ago of its former owner.

Sagripanti, who left a few weeks ago as chief executive of Manas, a much bigger shoe company from the same region, has a 30 percent stake in IHM. He said that he wants Fermani to go back to its previous annual sales level of around €13 million by next year, with 70 percent of the revenues coming from export markets. The company has rehired 40 of its 64 former employees.

Keeping all the production in Italy, the new owners want to expand its reach to important new markets such as Russia, China, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, while consolidating its position in Italy, Germany and Japan. Alberto Fermani has about 30 stores around the world

Sagripanti, who is 42 years old, remains a shareholder of Manas and president of Assocalzaturifici, the Italian shoe industry association formerly called Anci. He and his partner recently told us that the main goal of IHM is to use his experience in brand management and international development to enhance the image and the global turnover of the Italian brands that it is going to acquire. The acquisition of a couple of other complementary brands is in the pipeline.