Taiwanese entrepreneur Jimmy Chu and Italy’s Jobs have created a force in high-performance milling. Our Publisher Ken Fouhy reports that acquisitions and growth could boost FFG Europe sales to €200 million, and its first machines developed with FFG's Asian brands will debut at EMO.
Most Italian machine tool companies lack the scale to operate in global markets, according to Luigi Maniglio, chairman of the newly formed FFG Europe. “With 40, 50 or 100 employees, you cannot compete in major markets like China.” Maniglio heads FFG Europe, a joint venture between his investment company Alba s.r.l. and the Fair Friend Group from Taiwan, which is controlled by entrepreneur Jimmy Chu.
Three years ago, Maniglio along with the current management of Jobs, Marco Livelli and Antonio Dordoni, purchased Jobs SpA from a Russian oligarch. Now the Italian companies Jobs Automazione-Sachman, Rambaudi and Sigma Technology form the nucleus of FFG Europe, which has four production plants in Italy. Prior to forming the venture, Jobs had purchased Sachmann and a majority stake in vertical-machine centre maker Sigma. Jimmy Chu purchased Rambaudi in 2010. All four brands are now part of FFG Europe, which is owned 60% by Chu and 40% by Alba.
According to Maniglio, the 330 employees in FFG Europe generated sales of €70 million in 2012, with €50 million coming from high-performance milling manufacturer Jobs. FFG Europe produces milling machines for the aeronautic, aerospace, automotive, moulds & dies, energy and general mechanical sectors, with each of the four brands positioned differently to avoid product overlap.
Growth expected through more models, takeovers
The company will pursue an organic growth strategy by expanding its current product range, while strengthening its presence in international markets, according to Maniglio. “However, we are also looking for further acquisitions, particularly in Germany”. Maniglio said his medium-term goal is to grow annual sales to €200 million, although he declined to specify a target-year for this goal.
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