Following the recent recapitalisation of Safilo, a unit of Hal Holding, Multibrands Italy, has increased its stake in the world's second largest eyewear producer to 37.23 percent from about 2 percent, while the shareholding of Only 3T, the holding company of the Tabacchi family, has been diluted to 10.02 percent from nearly 40 percent. Safilo does not have any indication of other shareholders controlling more than 2 percent of its capital.
In view of the new equity structure, Safilo's shareholders appointed a new board of directors for three years at a meeting on March 29, coinciding with the approval of the company's financial results for 2009. The board is now chaired by Melchert Frans Groot, who is a member of the executive board of Hal Holding. Based in Monte Carlo, the Dutch executive is also a member of Pearle Europe's supervisory board and chairman of the supervisory board of one of its subsidiaries, GrandVision.
Groot replaces Vittorio Tabacchi, who was named honorary chairman. The substitution marks the final phase of the partial takeover of the company by Hal following two capital increases held in February for a total of about €263 million, in which the Tabacchi family's holding company Only 3T did not participate.
The Tabacchi family remains present on the board through Massimiliano Tabacchi, the son of Vittorio. Massimiliano Tabacchi will also head the group's sports division, including the Smith Optics brand as well as the helmets, goggles and sunglasses sold under the company's own Carrera brand through the sports channel.
Massimiliano Tabacchi was executive vice chairman of Safilo from November 2008 to March 2010. Previously, he occupied the posts of chief executive and chief operating officer. He worked for a while with a veteran of Safilo, Claudio Gottardi, who subsequently moved back to the U.S. and is now running Marchon.
As previously agreed with Hal, Roberto Vedovotto, was confirmed by the new board as chief executive and a company director. He has been running Safilo on and off in the past few years and was instrumental in winning the confidence of the banks, preventing the group from filing for bankruptcy. He owns 0.42 percent of the company's equity.
Four other directors sit now on Safilo's board including Jeffrey Cole, former president and CEO of Cole National from 1983 to 2003 and currently member of Pearle Europe's supervisory board. Other board members are Giovanni Ciserani, president of Procter & Gamble's Western European operations; Marco Jesi, chairman of the perfume retailer Limoni Profumerie and the catering group Argenta, and Eugenio Razelli, chairman and CEO of an Italian producer of automotive components, Magneti Marelli, and chairman of the Italian automotive industry association, Anfia.
Safilo's board was previously formed by Vittorio and Massimiliano Tabacchi; Vedovotto; Ennio Doris, founder of the financial group Mediolanum; Antonio Favrin, former chairman of the textile and fashion companies Marzotto and Valentino; and the businessmen Carlo Gilardi and Giannino Lorenzon.
The new board will ask shareholders to approve a reverse stock split, under which shareholders will receive one new share for every 20 shares held. An extraordinary general meeting will be held between April 29 and May 3 to approve the decision.