BUSINESS: Suppliers Kering Says All Maui Jim Functions Will Remain In-House and the Lab to Be Kept Intact With Possible Expansion By Staff Friday, March 18, 2022 12:24 AM NEW YORK and PADOVA—Following Kering Eyewear's announcement of the company's planned acquisition of Maui Jim, Inc., as VMAIL reported this past Monday, Kering executives replied to questions from VMAIL about its short and medium-term plans for Maui Jim. The transaction is subject to the clearance by the relevant competition authorities and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022. A Kering spokesperson told VMAIL, "All Maui Jim functions will remain in-house and the company will continue to operate business as usual. The Maui Jim labs will be kept intact and possibly further expanded in the medium term." Kering Eyewear CEO Roberto Vedovotto also elaborated about Maui Jim's international expansion and the potential of prescription sun lenses for other brands in the Kering portfolio. The spokesperson added, "Maui Jim main functions and offices will not be dislocated. Our two companies will collaborate on the definition of all synergies and future integration in the midterm." When asked about the management team at Maui Jim, the Kering spokesperson said, "Maui Jim will continue to operate business as usual. There are no operational changes in the foreseeable future." On a conference call held on Monday morning, Roberto Vedovotto, president and CEO of Kering Eyewear said, "We are extremely pleased to share today the great news of the acquisition of the iconic U.S. eyewear brand, Maul Jim, the world's largest independent sunglasses brand. This acquisition represents another major milestone in the successful expansion strategy of Kering Eyewear which has reached over €700 million in turnover in 2021. Roberto Vedovotto. "I founded Kering Eyewear at the end of 2014 with a group of talented managers to develop the in-house expertise for the Kering Group's brands. We were in fact the first to make this move in the industry, internalizing the eyewear activities for Kering's incredible brands and creating a specific and powerful entity to develop and manage this key category of our business. "It was the right move at the right time, Kering Eyewear has gone from strength to strength since it's inception. Following our partnerships with Richemont in 2017 and the acquisition of the Lindberg brand last year, we are rounding out our position in the very high end segment of the market." He continued, "With Maui Jim we will add a highly differentiated product offering with road untapped opportunities to our portfolio of already exceptional brands. With this acquisition, Kering Eyewear reaches new levels, becoming unparalleled in the eyewear segment, with revenues materially ahead of the € 1 billion mark on a full year basis and a profit margin further improving. "We see strong potential globally for Maui Jim, which will benefit from our expertise and worldwide network to extend its geographical footprint and build on its core values to attract new consumers. We are busy building Kering Eyewear's future and working with Maui Jim's teams," Vedovotto said. In response to a question from the media about Maui Jim's size, Vedovotto said, "Maui Jim's revenues is about three and a half times the size of Lindberg in its revenues so it's a substantial size and addition to our revenues. Maui Jim is extremely, extremely well known and recognized in North America, they do about 85 percent of their revenues in North America and have a relatively mild presence in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world. "They do have a good presence in Australia. There is an unusually strong opportunity to work with them to leverage our worldwide distribution network to expand from a geographical point of view. And when we look from a channel point of view—they are strong in the travel retail channel in the U.S. but have a little less presence in other parts of the world. It is very much a complementary brand in terms of presence for us and being stronger together." He also said the company would consider expanding the Maui Jim lens technologies into other Kering brands. "Their technology is the best in the market. Their Polarized Plus 2 technology is truly unique and yes we'd like to expand that to other brands of our current portfolio, a very interesting potential." Vedovotto added, "Maui Jim is also strong in what we call Rx-able lenses, sunglass lenses which are prescription. They have two state of the art laboratories, one in the U.S. and one in Europe and we believe this will be very significant potential—think about using Rx-able sun lenses in brands like Gucci, or Cartier, those brands among those we have where the final consumer and optician can provide Rx sunglasses for the clients who need them."