Cimbali swoops on espresso coffee machine manufacturer and eyes high-end growth

Gruppo Cimbali has bought a controlling stake in Slayer (Seattle Espresso Machine Co.), a US manufacturer of hand-crafted espresso coffee machines.

The partnership is part of the Italian group’s growth strategy and it intends to use the move to consolidate its position in the growing specialty coffee segment.

“The partnership with Slayer is part of our expansion plans and strengthens the group’s position in the specialty coffee market, a coffee consumption trend on the rise globally and recently increasing in popularity in Italy too,” said Franco Panno, CEO of Gruppo Cimbali.

Cimbali has not revealed the value of the transaction but confirmed that it has been financed entirely by its own funds. It says the move is integral to reinforcing its position in the top-end segment of the market and consolidating its position in the North American market through its direct presence in Seattle, one of the world’s espresso coffee centres.

Slayer will continue to pursue its own development plan under an independent management team, a separate sales network and within an agreed corporate governance structure.

Jason Prefontaine, founder and current CEO, will continue at the helm of the US company, which expects to reach a turnover of around $13m (£9.7m) in the current financial year with a “significant” growth compared to previous year.

Prefontaine commented: “This partnership will enable Slayer to tap into Cimbali’s expertise, technology and lean manufacturing skill sets and amplify its production efforts to meet global demand. This partnership move was written into my business plan at conception; I simply had to find the right partner.”

There have been no details given yet of any distribution plans or how the takeover might affect the UK market, but Slayer has vowed to “accelerate its presence on international markets” as a result of the added financial support, optimisation of production processes and R&D resource that it will get from being part of the Cimbali group.

Gruppo Cimbali expects to achieve a turnover of around €180m (£158m) in 2017, marking 7% of growth on last year. More than 80% of its sales come from overseas markets and it currently employs 700 staff.

MAIN IMAGE: (L-R) Maurizio Cimbali, Franco Panno and Jason Prefontaine.

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