LOWA Sportschuhe GmbH has acquired the Italian shoe specialist Riko Sport S.r.l., a company that makes about 12,000 pairs of LOWA shoes each day in its production site in Slovakia (RIALTO s.r.o). The acquisition represents a major step for the Jetzendorf-based company and will boost LOWA’s workforce from 250 to more than 2,000.
Riko Sport S.r.l. will be a wholly owned subsidiary of LOWA Sportschuhe GmbH. The Italian shoe specialist has been making LOWA shoes since 1992 and employs about 1,900 people in Italy and Slovakia.
“Riko Sport has been producing the main share of our footwear for many years now,” said Alexander Nicolai, CEO of LOWA Sportschuhe GmbH. “From the start, we have worked very effectively with the Castellani family and all the employees. We would like to thank them for their dedication and excellent work throughout this entire time. By integrating Riko Sport into the LOWA Group, we will be able to intensify our work together in future.”
The head office of Riko Sport S.r.l is based in Caselle di Altivole, a city in the Italian province of Treviso. A small facility that produces samples is located here. The main production operation for shoes is based in the city of Bošany, Slovakia. It operates under the name RIALTO s.r.o. The plant is located about 680 kilometres from LOWA’s headquarters in the Bavarian town of Jetzendorf and is one of the major employers in that region of Slovakia. For 27 years now, this plant has produced directly injected LOWA footwear in the categories All Terrain Classic, All Terrain Sport, Travel and Kids as well as cold weather boots and professional shoes. The President of Riko Sport S.r.l. is Renzo Castellani.
“We will have a smooth transition, and we are really happy that the company is being acquired by our years-long partner LOWA, a company whose employees we really respect for their integrity and expertise,” Castellani said in describing the sale of his company to LOWA. “We share the same business philosophy and the same roots. This arrangement also lets us safeguard our joint know-how.”
In addition to selling Riko Sport S.r.l. to LOWA Sportschuhe GmbH, the Castellani family is transferring 15 percent of its stake in LOWA to the Tecnica Group. The Group will own 75 percent of LOWA, and Werner Riethmann will hold the remaining 25 percent.
By acquiring the LOWA shares, the Tecnica Group will strengthen its outdoor footwear area, which produces about 55 percent of the company’s turnover. “Supported by the positive results of 2018 with turnover of €400 million, the Tecnica Group is taking another expansion step by acquiring Riko Sport through LOWA Sportschuhe GmbH,” Alberto Zanatta, Chairman of Tecnica Group, said of the decision. “Acquisition of the production company will enable LOWA to significantly enhance the production structure and product development.”
LOWA Sportschuhe GmbH makes boots and shoes for the hiking, outdoor and travel industries. The company’s headquarters is located in Jetzendorf, a Bavarian town near Munich. What began in 1923 as a small start-up producing traditional handmade Bavarian Haferl shoes, has evolved over the years into an international company with a highly respected global reputation. The traditional boot and shoe maker prides itself on its commitment to quality and fit and is one of the leading brands in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for hiking and outdoor footwear. The company became part of the Italian Tecnica Group in 1993. All footwear is made in Europe.