Manuel Tavares Silva, whose Portuguese company makes various ranges of children’s shoes sold mainly in Northern European countries, has joined two former managers of the French Pindière group in taking over all the assets Barbault, a subsidiary of Pindière that makes boys’ and girls’ shoes with a nice fit under the Little Mary brand name. The other bidder for Barbault, which Pindière placed by into receivership earlier this year, was Virona, a former property of Pindière that was taken over by its management about one year ago.
Tavares Silva’s company, Arauto, makes lower-end ranges of children’s shoes under its own brand name, Rapp, and under contract for major clients. It produces about 3,000 pairs a day. Like the managers of Aerosoles and of other Portuguese shoe producers who acquired the French Labelle group earlier this year, he is now investing on a French brand to secure more business for its factory.
With a turnover of over €3 million, the Little Mary collection is sold to more than 300 clients in France plus some in the Benelux countries, the UK and Ireland, but its foreign business is likely to increase under the new management. The new owners have taken over only 20 of Barbault’s 77 employees, including some workers who will continue to do the prototyping and some assembly work. The bulk of the production will be transferred to Arauto.
Technically, Barbault has been acquired by Kids Shoes, a new French company formed by Tavares Silva and by Hubert Merand and Jean-René Rousseau, both of whom worked for Pindière before. They will be in charge of general management and sales, respectively. Rousseau, who worked in Pindière’s Karson/Pierre Chupin division, had previously spent 12 years at another big company in the Cholet region, Rautureau Apple Shoes, whose brands include Pom d’Api.