Enjoying their independence

16 May 2003

It has taken a long time and lots of hard work for Arzignano-based machinery manufacturers Ge.ma.ta to re-establish themselves as an independent company since the commercial agreement between themselves and the Poletto Group broke up at the end of 2001. When Leather International last visited the company in March 2002, the situation regarding the company's new ownership was unresolved. However, when Leather International visited the company in March this year, general manager Gianni Maitan explained the current situation. 'When Poletto started having payment delays and difficulties, we decided to terminate the agreement and go our separate ways. We knew we were taking a chance starting out again on our own without the money that Poletto still owe us, but we had to take the risk.' Due to all the financial difficulties, one of the company's major shareholders, Dr Mauricio Biasi, was forced to gradually give up his shares in 2002. The money was then invested in a trust fund called DaMeGi, who are now 90% shareholders in the company, while Maitan bought the remaining 10% of the shares. The DaMeGi trust is owned by a family from the Arzignano area with an industrial background. The foundation of this trust also signifies that there is no longer any financial link between Ge.ma.ta and Poletto. Ge.ma.ta have also employed ten people from Poletto, including two sales managers with extensive market knowledge. The company now employ 96 people, up from 65 in 2001 and 85 in 2002. Following the termination of the agreement, Ge.ma.ta began studying and producing drying tunnels. 'This is what we believe the market was looking for, ie a complete finishing line', explains Maitan. Ge.ma.ta displayed their first spray finishing line at Tanning Tech 2002 and the first line the company have sold is now working at one of the plants of the Rino Mastrotto Group. 'In 2002, our sales increased by around 25% to €18 million', continues Maitan. 'With many companies closing or reporting decreases in sales, plus all the changes that we have experienced over the past two years, this is certainly very positive. 'This increase is partly due to the acquisition of the FBP trademark. All FBP products have now been reviewed and upgraded and production has been transferred to our facilities here in Arzignano. 'The shoemaking sector is having difficulties in Italy, particularly in Tuscany, but the upholstery and automotive markets in Arzignano are performing well and, despite all of the global problems in the leather industry, the company is still growing.'

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