Interview to Airpress : Beretta Holding, acquisitions in the spirit of innovation
In the years passed, Beretta Holding has increased its presence in the opto-electronics industry with thanks to three acquisitions: The American company Burris in 2002, the German company Steiner in 2008, and the American company Laser Devices in 2013, to which two other US companies have recently been added; STS and Diffraction. In 2014, the Group (Beretta Holding) reached an annual turnover of 623 million euro, 50% in USA, 22% in Europe, 22% in Rest of the World and 6% in Italy.
Recently, Beretta Holding acquired the American companies STS and Diffraction which supplies many western special forces with night vision devices. What does this mean for the Group from a technological point of view?
The two acquisitions finalized on the 31st of December, 2015, are particularly important for the Group as they will immediately supply us with a huge contribution in terms of expertise in regards to technology and innovation. STS and Diffraction offer solutions of amongst the most sophisticated night vision devices in the world and feature a dedicated team of expert engineers that are even today planning new products and services that are highly advanced in nature. The capability in innovation is the real added value of the two acquired companies and the Group will supply all resources needed to develop their plans of growth.
What’s your next move?
We already have a team dedicated to developing all productive and technological synergies between the two recently acquired companies and the other 26 of the Beretta Holding Group. Even on this occasion we followed our past strategy: acquiring small-medium sized businesses, easily integrable and capable of immediately being of considerable value to the whole group. We already have great expertise in the integration of companies similar to STS and Diffraction and I expect good results even on this occasion.
Is a growth other than from the investments in Research & Development (R&D) expected?
Today, Beretta Holding already invests around 20 million euro (approx. 3% of the turnover) every year in R&D, with an added 40 million euro (approx. 5%) to manufacturing investments. With the international defense market being one of the most competitive and complex markets in the world, we have no other choice than to increase our commitments, and the way to do that is to invest in technology to maintain leadership in all sectors in which the group operates.
What are the predicted developments in the sector of opto-electronics for the group and on which companies and products will you focus on the most in the near future?
We’re highly focused on the development of opto-electronics as it is the division of the Group in which I expect considerable potential for our future growth. This is because the products we offer (from laser pointing devices to battle lights) permit us to strengthen the technological offering for all the companies within the Group and we are noticing that these systems are being perceived as the differentiating factors of our products, not only by special forces and national security agencies throughout the world, but from other categories of clients from the Group (from law enforcement agencies to sporting shooters to hunters).
From a strategic point of view does this acquisition underline your desire for further internationalization of the group?
Definitely. My grandfather’s generation had already initiated the process of internationalization by the end of the 1800’s, and with great foresight my father permitted the group to expand in to the USA, the most important market in the world. The mission that my brother and I have set for ourselves is to follow this process of internationalization in all other countries of the world in which our presence can be increased, and I think it’s going in the right direction given that 94% of the yearly turnover comes from abroad. The US market continues to be fundamental: today, it constitutes for 50% of our turnover and with STS and Diffraction we’re focused on continual growth. Even today it’s a country that continues to amaze me in terms of how it manages to innovate in all sectors. I would like to highlight how much investments in the defense sector has contributed to technological progress across the whole country, starting with the development of the internet which has provided benefits in terms of competitiveness.
Other than the United States, what’s your next move in regards to emerging markets?
We continually analyze in which countries we can further expand the Group. At this moment our attention is focused on Australia, Russia, select Middle Eastern countries and certain areas within the continent of Africa.
What are the expectations for 2016?
Our Group is one that has always grown, year after year, both in terms of turnover and net income, through internal growth and through strategic acquisitions. In 2001 the group had a consolidated turnover of 348 million and in 2014 we closed with a turnover of 623 million euro. 2015 will close with an even higher turnover and I hope that this positive trend will continue in the coming years.