Gatto Astucci, the Italian supplier of eyewear cases, plans to make an acquisition later this year to accelerate its ongoing diversification into a global service company, offering comprehensive point-of-sale marketing solutions to brands and retailers in the eyewear sector and others.

The group currently gets 45 percent of its revenues from eyewear cases, 45 percent from in-store displays and 10 percent from luxury packaging. The display business also includes a design studio called Think D-Sign.

The already identified acquisition target is due to reshuffle the revenue split by bringing 12-15 percent in additional revenues and a new business unit specializing in marketing solutions for points of sale. It is also expected to generate synergies with existing businesses thanks to cross-selling.

In 2009, the group's turnover dropped by 15 percent to around €50 million largely due a retrenchment in sales of presenters as opticians cut marketing outlays due to the economic recession

On the flip side, 2010 has started on a strong note thanks to an upturn in investments in frame displays, and the group expects to be able to increase this year's sales by 15 percent on a comparable basis.

In the second quarter of 2010, the group plans to unveil a new corporate identity to mark its new positioning as a service provider. The company will nevertheless keep its existing brands for each activity.

Currently, about 60 percent of Gatto Astucci's revenues stem from the eyewear industry. The cosmetics sector represents 30 percent and the remaining 10 percent is achieved with the toiletry, stationery, jewelry and watch-making industries. The unfolding of the group's diversification will lead to a reduction in the importance of the eyewear sector. Another consequence of the diversification will be an increased internationalization of the group. Italian customers represent about two-thirds of the company's clientele.

Gatto Astucci's chief executive, Mario Pozzi, believes it is difficult for the company to grow by remaining focused on the eyewear industry. He estimates that the group's strategy will be underpinned by international brands' interest in bolstering in-store advertising and promotion.

The group's point-of-sale service business will initially be focused on Europe and will be rolled out in the medium-term in the Asia-Pacific region and in North America.