Middleton manufacturer expands into Italy with £6.1 million acquisition

Date published: 13 January 2021

The UK’s leading providers of polyurethane foam, based in Middleton, has expanded into Italy after acquiring a firm for £6.1m.

The Vita Group, which employs 2,700 people across Europe and is headquartered in Middleton, has acquired Italian foam manufacturer I.M.P.E. S.p.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Natuzzi based in Naples.

Vita expects the £6.1m deal to complete in the first quarter of 2021. It will enable the business to gain an important foothold in Italy, which is the second largest furniture producing country in Europe and one of its largest furniture exporters.

The Naples site, which will be known as Vita Italy, will manufacture value added and differentiated polyurethane foam for the Italian furniture and bedding industry, as well as expanding the group’s trade links with the Americas and North Africa.

The site, which has production capabilities of 20k tonnes per annum, will enable Vita to release current production in Hungary and Romania to concentrate on further expansion in Eastern Europe and the Balkans region.

The acquisition will also further strengthen its long-standing partnership with world-leading furniture manufacturer Natuzzi. In addition to purchasing the foam plant in Naples, The Vita Group will continue to supply Natuzzi with high-quality materials, including new innovative foams for use across its global furniture portfolio.


Vita's Middleton Innovation Centre
Vita's Middleton Innovation Centre


Speaking on behalf of The Vita Group, Group CEO Ian Robb said: “This strategic acquisition establishes a further step in our ambition to broaden and strengthen our production footprint across Europe. We believe this is a win-win transaction for all parties and allows Vita to gain an established foothold in this important market.

“Under The Vita Group umbrella, and with the assistance of IMPE’s experienced workforce, we look forward to further investing in new plant and equipment to allow us to increase choice, innovation and continued support to our existing and new customers, while further enhancing our presence in the Italian bedding and furniture market.”

Major milestones in 2020 included capacity expansions in Lithuania, Poland and Romania, which will be online in 2021. The capacity increases enable further investments into thriving new sectors, such as bedding (Bed in a Box) technology and production equipment in United Kingdom, France, Romania, and Germany.

These investments are supported with the creation of four distinct innovation centres across the group, based in Accrington (Technical Division), Corby (Flooring Division), while the Comfort Division has invested in Lithuania (Chemistry and Formulation) and its state-of-the-art Bedding Innovation Centre in Middleton.

The Middleton Innovation Centre combines Vita’s technical expertise with the latest advanced testing equipment and systems. Recently, the Innovation Centre developed FRee foam, an environmentally friendly alternative to standard foams that is fully compliant with UK flammability regulations.

Built on 70 years of heritage, The Vita Group develops, manufactures and markets a wide range of flexible polyurethane foam, Talalay latex and flooring products to create comfort, quality and functional solutions for customers.

Its materials are used in products across a range of sectors, from bedding to office and household furniture, mobility markets and the significant new sectors of medical and hygiene.

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