Gatto Astucci, which claims to be the second largest producer of eyewear cases in the Western world after Fedon, has started to diversify like its main rival. It has acquired Modaplex, an Italian company based in Padua with annual sales of about e5 million that specializes in high-quality in-store display units for such products as jewelry and watches.

Prior to this move into merchandising, Gatto Astucci had annual sales of about e15 million, apparently without the inclusion of the turnover generated by its manufacturing operations in the Far East. The privately owned company, which has been rather secretive until now, is actually a group of various companies with distribution and manufacturing facilities in Hong Kong, Croatia and Slovenia, and sales offices in Belgium, Germany, the USA and Mexico.

Two top-level Italian executives who recently worked for Gatto Astucci have both left and have not yet been replaced. Carlo Costan worked for a while as export manager under the group's CEO, Fabrizio De Silvestri, and he is now working at Celes (see separate story in this issue). Tiziano Russolo, formerly with Carrera, was taken on as a consultant to help develop specific cases for sports eyewear, but he now has a high position at Nike Italy.