MILAN, Italy – Here we report our long, exclusive interview with Franco Panno, C.E.O. of Cimbali Group. Through his comments, we analyze the present and future prospects for the global leader in the traditional professional espresso machines sector.
Cimbali Group has a new brand: Slayer. What does it represent?
“Yes. And we are proud of this partnership with Slayer. Because it is an iconic brand in the specialty coffee world.
In just ten years, the brand has helped to raise the standards of the coffee industry, thanks to its excellent product and development of a user experience that satisfies the needs of professional baristas.”
Why did Cimbali Group decide to acquire another brand?
“The acquisition is part of our growth strategy. One of the key elements of our strategic plan is to consolidate our position in the specialty coffee world.
We are doing so because specialty coffee is becoming increasingly popular in Italy in the wake of international trends. Particularly in the top-end segment.
Slayer, with its brands and products, is unquestionably an industry benchmark, a revolutionary, radical brand. For this very reason, it is extremely interesting to us.”
What is special about Slayer?
“Slayer anticipated the direction of the market. It also boasts a dynamic team, an exceptional product and great potential.
The traditional machines that they design and manufacture by hand at their headquarters in Seattle, USA, are the result of years of research and development and of dialogue with the community of baristas and people for whom coffee is a way of life.”
Slayer expects a turnover of 13 million dollars, or 10.59 million euro, in 2017.
Compared to the Cimbali Group’s 180 million euro turnover. Was it a costly brand?
“I understand that people are curious about the economic value of this partnership. However, for reasons of confidentiality, we decided, together with Slayer, not to disclose the financial terms of the transaction.»
With its large portfolio of brands, Cimbali Group now has a tailored offer for everyone.
How is it that at the start of 2018, Cimbali is the leading company in the traditional professional espresso machines sector?
“Over the last four years, we have worked on the segmentation of our products, brands and commercial offer, in order that they can meet the needs of our customers.
Our customers are different all over the world: they speak different languages, so it is essential that they are satisfied with an appropriate service.
LaCimbali, Faema and Slayer are a perfect, iconic combination of heritage, innovation, design and technological invention.”
But Cimbali Group has seven overseas branches, two in Italy and 700 distributors.
There won’t be enough Slayer machines to go around…
“It is important to bear in mind that Slayer operates in a fast-growing, but nonetheless niche segment.
However, we are taking all the necessary steps to increase its production capacity on the market in order to satisfy all our customers’ needs.
Having said that, Slayer will independently continue along its own development path. Although it now benefits from Cimbali Group’s support, it has an independent management and sales network.”
Cimbali Group has hired 110 new employees in the last four years.
50% of the new employees were aged under 35 and they were all highly qualified. Are you preparing for a very busy future?
“We have recruited over the last four years in preparation to achieve new growth horizons.
Our workforce in Italy and abroad is changing: we are becoming even more multi-cultural, with a better age and gender balance.
Our employees are the key to achieving ambitious goals.
Progressive organic growth and acquisitions can only be sustained if agreed upon and shared with the whole organization.»
Will the Group always have the same success, including financial success, that it does now?
“I’ll take that as a good luck wish rather than a question!
The socio-economic and market conditions show room for growth in various countries and segments.
Our strategic plan is developing healthily and constantly with several exciting projects. Our branches are rooted in the local area in order to listen to and respond to the needs of our customers.
Our marketing and communication plan reaches millions of people.
I might add that all the indications are positive and we are proceeding at an excellent rate.”
Will Italy continue to be a leader in the production of professional espresso machines?
The Chinese, to cite one example, will always continue to exclusively make 50-euro machines for capsules. And even the Koreans, who make everything, are buying espresso machines in Italy.
“The Italian espresso machine industry is very solid and continues to evolve. It also boasts a long history of success, marked by the foundation of major brands. Our own LaCimbali and Faema for example, though of course we are not alone.”
“LACIMBALI AND FAEMA ARE 100% DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED IN itALY, AT OUR THREE FACTORIES AND BINASCO HEADQUARTERS, WHICH IS ALSO HOME TO OUR COFFEE CULTURE CENTER: THE MUMAC MUSEUM AND OUR ACADEMY. INCUBATORS FOR IDEAS, PROJECTS, TRAINING AND CULTURE, WHERE WE MEET THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVER YEAR.”
However, we are an international Group: over 80% of our turnover comes from abroad. Consequently, we are interested in maintaining and ensuring an even wider, more open approach to the world.”