Panini for sale? Maybe, but not in Belgium
The global collectible sticker giant is on display, according to Bloomberg. Like every year of a mega-sporting event, puts its Belgian importer into perspective.
The Panini group would be for sale, according to the Bloomberg agency. The Italian sticker giant of football stars and other popular sports had been taken over by its management in 2016, after having belonged successively to the Panini brothers, to the Marvel Entertainment group and then to the Fineldo fund. In Belgium, stickers and trading cards are distributed by Panini Belgium Publishing which, unlike most of the other “country” representations of the Italian group, is a company 100% Belgian-Belgian, owned by two families. In other words, if the group is sold, it will have no impact a priori on the activity of the company in our country.
“Every time there is a Euro or a World Cup, this kind of article comes out in the press, because we know that we are going to double our income.”
“Everything is still for sale”, comments soberly Thierry de Latre du Bosqueau, the CEO of Editions Panini Belgium, when we confront him with the information disseminated by Bloomberg. “We are close to launching the sticker album on Euro 2020 (2021 …). This represents a big event for us in terms of turnover and it can therefore arouse interest in the group, he adds. Every time there is a Euro or a World Cup, this kind of article comes out in the press, because we know that we are going to double our income. “
The Belgian company will launch the first cards linked to the Euro next week.
The reasoning applies to the group as well as to Belgium. Turnover of Éditions Panini Belgique, exclusive importer of vignettes and albums, has thus passed from 3 million euros in 2017 (neither Euro nor World Cup) to 12.5 million in 2018 (World Cup in Russia), then dropped to 1.9 million in 2019 (year without a mega-sporting event). And it will also be disappointing in 2020 since the Covid crisis had the effect of postponing the Euro until this year.
Released in a week
The Belgian company will precisely launch next week the first cards linked to the Euro, then a few weeks later the “stickers” – now, Panini has it both ways, sticky stickers and trading cards.
Like most SME managers, the CEO of Éditions Panini Belgium agrees that the situation created by the health crisis has made anxious. The postponement of the Euro last year was seen by him as a small disaster. “However, we operate in a niche sector, analysis Thierry de Latre du Bosqueau. Unlike other sectors that have been forced to close and are not going to double their income when they reopen, we will have the chance to double or triple our turnover this year… if the Euro takes place of course! We are certainly not going to recover all our 2020 loss, but we will always have a future. “