Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, to give the 800-year-old Italian apothecary brand its full title, made a big splash in late May with the opening of its first Australian flagship store in Sydney.

The brand was a favourite of Catherine de Medici, the infamous 16th century Queen of France, and offers more than 600 products across body care, fragrances, candles, home fragrances and liqueurs. Prior to opening its Sydney standalone store, Santa Maria Novella had carved out a cult following in Australia through its official local distributor, Libertine Parfumerie.

The brand operates 80 standalone stores and shop-in-shops around the world in major cities, including Rome, London, Paris, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. With annual revenues of 22.6 million euros (AUD$35.33 million), it is also sold in 200 select doors globally.

Italmobiliare, one of Italy’s leading investment firms with major assets in the food, energy and medical sectors, bought a 20 per cent stake in Santa Maria Novella in January 2020. Eight months later, the investment major acquired another 60 per cent of the company for 120 million euros (AUD$187.66 million) to clinch a majority stake of 80 per cent.

The two investments marked Italmobiliare’s first foray into the beauty industry. The company has now bought the remaining 20 per cent of Santa Maria Novella for 40 million euros (AUD$62.55 million) to take total ownership.

The strategy now gives Italmobiliare the flexibility to fast-track the brand’s international expansion.

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