In the past Italian and European manufacturers who offered advanced product culture, innovation, research, service and quality traditionally led the denim market. However, today this business is gradually losing its original character and becoming a more globalized industry.

During last week’s edition of the Blue Zone at Munich Fabric Start, for instance, the number of non-European exhibitors visibly increased compared to past editions.

In addition, the whole denim industry is facing some difficulties that are partially solved through mergers and acquisitions with international partners. After the merging of Spanish Tavex and Brazilian Santista and the partnership between India’s Raymond Group and Belgium’s UCO, new changes are happening at some Italian companies.

By July 2008 Italian denim specialist CDI ( is scheduled to be 100% acquired by Parras (, the more than 100-year-old denim manufacturing part of the Mexican holding company GFM Telas Parras. Their new joint venture is GFM Textiles Italy. According to Roberto Rivero Larrea, CEO of European Operations of GFM Telas Parras, the yearly productive capacity of the new joint venture is around 100 million meters (80 million from Parras, 12 million from CDI).
The aim of the operation is to unite both companies’ specialties – product research and quality with big volumes and price – and successfully serve the market according to its different needs.

Gruppo Bonazzi’s denim division Montebello ( has sold its Italy-based sales division to Azgard Nine (, a Pakistani garment and denim manufacturer that is listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange. Montebello’s own manufacturing facility, Aquasava, which is based in Slovenia, will remain in the hands of Gruppo Bonazzi, although it will produce denim under an exclusive agreement for Azgard Nine.
“The aim of the operation is to create a ‘new powerful denim animal,’” explained Antonio Bonazzi, CEO of Gruppo Bonazzi's textile subdivision. “And that will take advantage of a worldwide network of production capability for bulk orders of fabric and garments from Pakistan and for innovation and specialties of fabric and garments from Slovenia and the Mediterranean Sea.”

Legler ( is facing difficulties in handling its plants in Bergamo in Northern Italy and Sardinia in Southern Italy and, according to local newspapers, registered losses of 12 million Euros. After a temporary support provided by Sardinia Region, Legler was recently bought by Milan-based Ferratex, a consulting company headed by Legler’s former laywer Giam Pietro Rausse. The aim of the acquisition is to sell the company to a specialized fabric manufacturer.

— Maria Cristina Pavarini, senior features editor