Tuscan Cigar, the company passes to Montezemolo and partners

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Manifatture finds a solid (and Italian) shareholder base Cigar Toscano, historic leading company in the production of made in Italy cigars – in the factories of Lucca and Cava de’ Tirreni (Salerno) – which in recent years had ended in bankruptcy (declared in 2021) of the Emilian Seci group of the Maccaferri family, owner of 50.01% of the capital. The 49.99% had remained in the hands of a group of investors made up of Luca di Montezemolo, Piero Gnudi, Aurelio Regina and Francesco Valli, united in the Leaf BidCo company, which has now decided to bet again on the “Toscano” cigar. Leaf BidCo has in fact risen from 49.99% to 100% by also acquiring the former Seci share, which in the meantime passed – just a few days ago – from the Court of Bologna to the American fund Apollo Delos.

At Vinitaly also the excellence of Manifatture Sigaro Toscano

108 million euro operation

The value of the operation, which brings a brand with more than 200 years of history back to Italy and gives production and financial stability to Manifatture Sigaro Toscano (Mst), is 108 million euros between the purchase of shares and the renegotiation of the debt. To deal with the acquisition Leaf BidCo – we read in a note – signed a financing contract with five banks: Mps, Bpm, Bper, Db and Cassa di Ravenna.

The operation was followed by Ernst & Young and the Chiomenti law firm. The company’s board of directors, which met yesterday 4 December under the chairmanship of Luca di Montezemolo, appointed Marco Nuzzo, Matteo Tamburini and Francesco Valli in place of the three directors indicated by the Court of Bologna. Stefano Mariotti is confirmed as CEO.

Manifatture Sigaro Toscano, despite the events of the majority shareholders, has never stopped. 2022 closed with a turnover of 123 million euros, up 5% on 2021, and a net profit of 17.2 million. Rising energy bills and tobacco prices took their toll, but the company soldiered on. Last year, 232 million cigars were sold in 40 countries: exports, which have grown in recent years, have reached 25 percent. The main outlet countries are Turkey, Germany, Spain, France to which, since 2018, the United States has been added. Mst, 400 employees of which 180 workers, has 92% of the market share in Italy.

The listing dossier

Now, with the shareholding structure recomposed in the hands of a stable group of shareholders, it will be possible to resume a path of more sustained development, and perhaps take back control of the listing dossier dear to Luca di Montezemolo. It was the entrepreneur himself, who together with Gnudi now has the majority of the company and who intends to play an operational role, who years ago had studied the possible landing on the stock market of 30-35% of the capital. Mst is the driving force behind an Italian tobacco supply chain of the Kentucky species which employs around 200 producers in Tuscany, lower Lazio and Campania, with around two thousand employees cultivating 1,300 hectares. A supply chain put in crisis in recent years not so much by the pandemic but by the scarcity of community contributions and the weather which caused serious damage to production. Manifatture Sigaro Toscano has always continued to invest in new products, including – among the latest – the limited edition trilogy of Toscano Robusto cigars, which brings together the orange, blue and red flavor variants, handcrafted by the cigar makers of the Lucca factory with a 200-year-old technique and products with Italian Kentucky tobacco from the Tiber Valley and North American. In fact, 60% of the tobacco used by Mst comes from Italy, and now the objective will be to continue to produce an Italian product. In order not to lose the tradition inaugurated in 1815, when in the tobacco factory of Florence a batch of tobacco left to dry in the summer sun was wet by a storm. In order not to throw away that tobacco, it was decided to produce cheap cigars to sell to the Florentines, but it was an unexpected success. The water had fermented the tobacco, giving it a completely new taste: thus the legend of the Tuscan cigar was born, which regularly went into production from 1818.

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