Caffè Mauro is taking on Starbucks and Illy
Under Fabrizio Capua’s leadership, the company is beginning to ramp up and focus on retail. The first flagship store is to open in Milan in 2020, and investments are being made in returning prestigious historic bars to their former glory.
by francesca corradi
The world of coffee is seeing incredible growth. According to ICO, the International Coffee Organization, global production increased by 1.2% over the 2017-18 period. While Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia are the top three producers, most consumers are in Europe, with 51.93 million bags of coffee imported. Italy is the leading importer. Here there are about 700 roasters but there are only 30 key players, including Caffè Mauro.
Fabrizio Capua’s family had a business bottling Coca-Cola, but, in 2008, he founded the Independent Investments holding company and took over the Calabrese roaster, which had been in business since 1949.
Having surpassed 20 million euros in turnover, 43% of which comes from exports to more than 60 countries, a new season has begun for Caffè Mauro. Fifty-one-year-old Fabrizio Capua (in the photo above) – president and ceo of the company – spoke with MAG about the new corporate plans. From investments in e-commerce to growth abroad, in the mass-distribution channel and HORECA, but, most importantly, in launching a chain of branded coffee shops that will debut in Milan.
After working with Coca-Cola, in 2018, you launched Independent Investments.
After working for Coca-Cola for 30 years, I founded my holding company. The name comes from my desire to be independent from certain types of businesses, such as franchising, and therefore free to relaunch Italian brands that were worthy but going through difficulties. The first big operation was the acquisition of Caffè Mauro, then other investments followed, especially in the financial and real-estate/residential fields.
Why did you decide to invest in Caffè Mauro?
I acquired it 10 years ago. My objective, as I said, was to acquire a historic company that represented “Made in Italy,” put it in a better position and shore it up.
Can you talk a bit about the company’s numbers?
Caffè Mauro employs about 40 people, though if we consider, additional activities, that number reaches 150. In 2018, we had turnover of 20.3 million euros, an increase of 7 million as compared to 2008. The facilities have a great deal of production capacity, and today, only 30% of that is being used. Actually, we roast almost 4 million kilograms of coffee, and we could potentially do 16 million, with possible growth of 70%.
What is the breakdown of the business?
Business activities are divided among consumption in bars and restaurants, which counts for 60% in Italy and abroad, the mass-retail channel counts for 20% while vending makes up the rest, with coffee beans and capsules. The objective is to strengthen the capsule business, especially those compatible with different systems. This also includes strengthening the e-commerce channel.
What markets do you operate in?
Today, 43% of our turnover comes from exports, in the HORECA channel, in more than 60 countries. In addition to established markets like Canada and Germany, in the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of growth in countries like Israel, Hungary, Greece, and Malta, where we’ve had double-digit growth for a few years now.
What does the future hold for Caffè Mauro?
We will continue to invest in the HORECA channel in Italy and abroad, and in e-commerce. The objective is to strengthen the investment in Caffè Mauro also via aggregation activities, mergers or synergistic collaborations, which is the best growth strategy in such a fragmented market.
We want to expand abroad, and we would like that to make up 50% of our business. In terms of HORECA, our objective is to double the number of stores (today, there are about 1,500). Finally, there is e-commerce, which hasn’t yet reached the benchmarks and makes up 1% of sales.