Air Tech Italy recently spoke to Mr Graziano Verdi, CEO of the Italcer Group, a leader in the world of ceramics. Italcer Group recently became a new Member of Air Tech Italy confirming the Group’s focus on the airport industry as of one its key segments.
Mr Verdi, can you tell us a bit more about the Italcer Group?
The Italcer Group was founded in 2017 by Private Equity Fund, Mindful Capital Partners, in the person of the founding partner Alberto Forchielli, and by myself. Previously I was the President and CEO of a ceramic group, Technogym and the Belgian Multinational Koramic Group. Our aim with Italcer Group was to create a global player in the ceramics sector, manufacturing high-quality outdoor and indoor design ceramic surfaces. Through many different integrations of existing players (7 so far) we have been able to successfully grow our business to a 360 million Euro business last year, ten times the 2017 revenues.
It has been a very successful trajectory so far, how do you explain this success?
Well we can actually attribute this success to several elements.
First our organic growth of 15% is well above the market average of about 4% on the last six years.
Secondly the integration of the many acquired companies helped us to secure a faster growth, successfully integrating all these acquisitions and making good use of the quality of our people, the incoming management of these companies and the newly acquired competences and the complementarity of the product portfolios.
We created a true high-end and luxury cluster in the industry, able to offer a wide variety of designs, big slabs and small ceramic, enabling us to create a complete variety of beautiful flooring and wall designs. Thanks to the many specialized factories we have been able to tailor to a wide variety of customers but always with the highest quality and using the latest innovations.
Innovation and sustainability have since the start been at the center of your strategic focus?
Graziano Verdi: “Indeed, we have always had a clear focus on both.
Innovation to create not only the most beautiful collection of tiles but we are able to create tiles that are antiviral, antibacterial and anti pollutant, made of the strongest materials on the market. Our different brands have several technical characteristics, ranging from (mohs scale) 0 to 10, with 10 being diamond grade. We can be extremely happy that products from our catalogues can be found in category 8/9 which is stronger than granite or marble (with a scale of 7 or 8).
Sustainability our focus has been on cutting C02 in production and put sustainability as a key objective for our Group. We create not only beautiful and high quality products, but focus clearly on sustainability. This is proven amongst others by the fact that our ceramics are made of 52% recycled materials and unlike other products like marble, nothing gets lost while producing our products. Our sustainability drive has been rewarded by the 2022 Italian Sustainability Award, first among the top Sustainable Businesses with ESG ratings provided by Altis of the Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, a leading force in sustainability in Italy.
Designers, architects and customers love the quality of our products and our designs but we see more and more a stronger focus on sustainability. The younger generation pays a lot of attention to this aspect of our business. We have embraced sustainability from the start in our approach and production process, giving us a big advantage over other competitors. It’s at the core of what we do“
The airport market is an important market for Italcer Group, why should airports use your products?
Graziano Verdi: “For me there are 4 key main reasons why.
Technology coupled to innovation has been key to make our titles withstand bacteria and pollutants while making them easy to maintain. The quality, the durability make them into a great investment for airports as they tick all the boxes. Our tiles are very often selected for the flooring in shopping malls, here they are submitted to similar stress factors as in airports, making them the ideal choice for airport environments.
What are for you the key trends you see in your markets?
Graziano Verdi: “We see three trends
- The demand for larger materials. Tiles of 1mx1m and even bigger sizes are in heavy demand and not only at shopping malls or airports but in almost all market segments.
- Antiviral and antibacterial flooring. We see a solid demand for antiviral and antibacterial flooring – even before COVID – we have even patented on a worldwide level, the specific technology we have launched in 2021.
- Sustainability. Even if mentioned before we see a continued need to address sustainability in our products and how we produce these, it has now also become a key element in public tenders where a sustainability certification is required”.
How do you see the future of the group?
Graziano Verdi: “In the next 6 to 7 years our objective is to reach the 1 billion Euro mark. We will be able to achieve this through solid organic growth and the further integration of other companies. We will continue to focus on design and production of ceramics. With companies like Devon&Devon – a worldwide leader in classic bathroom furnitures – we have been able to create very special designs in ceramic bathrooms, making it a leader in high end hospitality projects and luxury housing. It has become a very nice complementary business.
Many thanks for this very interesting interview Mr Verdi and good luck with your expansion in the airport market.
For more information on Gruppo Italcer, check out https://www.gruppoitalcer.it/ and for more information on Air Tech Italy Members go to https://airtechitaly.com/members/?