ABK Group acquires Desvres


The historic French brand Desvres has become part of the Finale Emilia-based ceramic group, which in recent months has also purchased Gardenia Orchidea and acquired a 49% stake in the Spanish company Arbe Stolanic

As part of its ongoing external growth plan, on 10 March the ABK Group announced the acquisition of the French company Desvres, a firm that has been part of the Belgian group Koramic since 1995 and in January 2021 was placed in liquidation by the Court of Lille.

The deal marks the third acquisition by the Finale Emilia-based ceramic group led by chairman Roberto Fabbri in just a few months and the second outside Italy following the two purchases completed in October and November 2020: Gardenia Orchidea (and its Versace Ceramics brand) and a 49% interest in the Spanish company Arbe Stolanic.

While the acquisition of a stake in Arbe Stolanic fits in with the ABK Group’s plan to expand into the kitchen furniture segment (with ABKSTONE slabs), the French acquisition is strategically important for other reasons.

Desvres is a historic brand that was established in 1863 and is well positioned in the French market. As Alessandro Fabbri, ABK’s Managing Director of Sales & Marketing, explains, “Our Group has always chosen to invest in long-established, internationally renowned brands with the aim of relaunching them and restoring them to a market leading position thanks to the driving force and innovation of our corporate vision.” One of the medium-term objectives announced by Fabbri is to completely relaunch the Desvres brand and consequently extend the group’s export range.

The geographical location of the Desvres plant in Boussois, a municipality in northern France close to the Belgian border, is also strategically important for ABK. It will enable the Italian group to create a production and distribution hub specialising in 20 and 30 mm thick outdoor pavers in a strategic location close to the biggest markets for this type of product (France, Belgium, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands), bringing major benefits in terms of logistics and transport costs.

A major two-year investment plan is already in place to remodel the historic production site with the aim of increasing production capacity and expanding the product range. Capacity will increase from the current 5 million sqm/year to 7 million sqm/year by 2022, on top of the 8 million sqm currently produced by ABK in Italy. The Desvres range currently consists mainly of 45x45 cm, 30x60 cm and 60x60 cm tiles but will be updated with new and larger sizes such as 80x80 cm, 60x120 cm and the extra-thick 20x120 cm.

Despite the difficulties experienced over the past year, Desvres has continued to operate uninterruptedly and posted a turnover of more than 40 million euros in 2020. With this acquisition, ABK Group further cements its position as one of the largest Italian ceramic groups and expects to see its turnover grow from 150 million euros in 2020 to more than 180 million euros at the end of 2021.