While thanking the FEICA associates, who elected him president of the Association of the European Adhesives & Sealant Industry, Guido Cami gave a reading of the present moment, of this historical time that many call ‘restart’: “We all went through a critical phase that has not come to an end yet. But we are still in the game, perhaps stronger than before, to face new challenges. We certainly understood how important it is to work together in an organised way at all levels and in all places”.
Working together is a philosophy which Guido Cami, President and CEO of Industrie Chimiche Forestali (ICF), has believed in for a long time. This is demonstrated by the acquisition of Morel which reached its full development in July 2021.
“It was an operation of great value, especially considering the current historical moment. It was not to be taken for granted that two hundred-year-old companies, in a sector like ours, would have the strength and the courage to unite.
Morel brings to ICF its long experience in the toecap and counters sector, its know-how and its advanced impregnation technologies, the flagship of the company, appreciated by the whole market.
We count on providing continuity, solidity and organisation. Above all, we trust in this synergy to offer the market a complete range of products, and thus reap abundant and ripe fruits for both brands”.
The acquisition took place according to values that ICF has been professing for some time: keeping companies and jobs alive, and building interesting industrial projects.
“In the change of ownership, no one was left behind or excluded. Our idea was not to plunder Morel, but to help each other grow further. Now all Morel employees are part of the Forestali group, and all the machines have been transferred to our headquarters in Marcallo con Casone, in order to optimise resources as much as possible. In record time, we redesigned the finished product warehouses and obtained 1200 more places to house Morel products”.
What about the general company performance?
“I like to repeat that we are invisible, but we are everywhere! An important factor that has allowed us to grow even in times of market difficulty.
We are particularly satisfied with the results achieved in the first half of this year. Although the macroeconomic context is still partially affected by the health crisis, we achieved revenues of over €37 millions, up both compared to the first half of 2020 (+31%) and to pre-Covid levels, with a margin of over 3,3 million euro and a robust cash generation, even net of the investments made in the half year, the distribution of dividends and the buy back programme. In 2020 alone we have invested 1.5 million euro, over 12 million in the last ten years. Figures that made it possible to develop new business opportunities by eliminating debts and giving the company solidity, as well as supporting research and innovation. In particular, we are very satisfied with how we have developed the network of leather goods customers which, today, exceeds 5 million euro”.
After greeting the FEICA members, Cami writes: ‘So let’s work together to continue growing in a sustainable way’.
“We are guided by a thought: certifications are an ethical and moral obligation even before the law. ICF is not new to talks around sustainability. We have joined the Responsible Care, the voluntary programme to promote the Sustainable Development of the global Chemical Industry, in 1998. Since then we have pursued an uninterrupted path of company and process certification, up to the creation of our first Sustainability Report. Just think that there are 4 people in the company who deal with the subject full-time.
And in 2020, despite all the difficulties involved, we decided to also certify the products (GRS, FSC, OK-BIOBASED, OEKO-TEX). An LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) study was also carried out on the Fabrics line, which defines the consumption of resources (materials, water, energy) and the impacts on the surrounding environment in the various phases of the product’s life cycle, which will serve to obtain the EPD® (Environmental Product Declaration) certification.
Lastly, a consideration on the markets and on the existing problems at international level: “Markets that are very sensitive to price are difficult to approach at this time. With the raw materials crisis, prices rise for us, but our customers refuse to listen to reason and don’t want to pay more than before. This does not just lead to a reduction in sales volumes, but also in margins.
This does not apply to brands which are unlikely to change the suppliers with whom they have established a relationship of trust. In our relationship with brands, among other things, we have greatly benefited from having certified production processes and products, because now the big brands take quality for granted, while the first questions they ask you are related to sustainability”.
ICF seems to have found the right recipe to grow with satisfaction, responsibility and, as Guido Cami says, with fun.