Costil under new ownership

15 October 2003

The famous French bovine tannery group, Costil, now have two new owners: Colomer Group, Spain (95% of the Pont-Audemer division) and Tanneries Roux (5% of Pont-Audemer and 100% of Strasbourg). Costil, once the biggest tanning group in France, have had a chequered career since the family sold the organisation to Credit Lyonais back in 1995. The operation, including a substantial production of calf skin, has two centres: Pont-Audemer in Normandy consisted of Costil's automotive leather finishing plant employing 150 people and the UNT beamhouse tannery which employed 70 people and also supplied wet-blue to tanneries outside the group. In Strasbourg, there were another 150 employees at Costil and Tannerie de France which produces footwear and leathergoods leathers. In 2000, the bank sold the group into Italian ownership but this venture company went into voluntary liquidation two years later in October 2002 after the then president, Virgilio Calabrese, had been indicted for allegedly misusing company property. Since February 14 this year, Tanneries Roux have owned the Strasbourg finished leather unit which employs 122 people. Jean-Claude Ricomard, owner/president, told Leather International that the finishing plant is the best in France and one of the best in Europe. Costil produce high quality leather while Roux describe their selections as top end, luxury leather for leathergoods and shoes and regard the two ranges to be complementary since 80% of the customer base is common to both companies. Since June, Colomer have acquired 95% of the northern operation with Roux taking 5% of the two divisions in Pont-Audemer with 75 people; 43 people involved in automotive leather production and 32 in the beamhouse.. Roux currently export 40% of their throughtput (80% calf, 20% bovine) and will celebrate their 200th anniversary in October. Ricomard bought Roux nine years ago and has doubled turnover in eight years with €20 million this year on 4 million sq ft/year. His objective is to achieve a further €15 million through Costil. Ramon Roca has been appointed by Colomer as director general of Costil/UNT at Pont-Audemer. Roca was with LeatherXchange until a year ago when he returned to Colomer, working in the raw materials department until he was reassigned to Costil. According to press reports, Colomer, who are headquartered in the Spanish tanning town of Vic, submitted a three-year plan to buy the tannery and have committed themselves to retaining at least 75 of Costil's 211 employees.

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