June 30, 2020 / 4:51 PM / 7 days ago

Swabs maker Copan open to new investors but with conditions: CEO

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s Copan Group, one of the main manufacturers of swabs globally, has been approached by suitors and would be willing to accept any new investor prepared to support its expansion into new products or markets, its CEO and chairman said on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the family-owned company had to step up production to respond to a boom in demand for swabs triggered by the coronavirus outbreak. Until now, however, it has managed to fund its own growth.

“I never close the door ... I always ask (a suitor) what he can offer me,” Stefania Triva said, adding the group had recently been approached by prospective investors.

Speaking at a digital event, Triva said that the company did not need a pure financial partner, but an ally who could also bring know-how.

“If (a new investor) contributes not only financially but also with scientific knowledge I would be interested ... because it is the opportunity to enter a new business line or a new market that attracts me,” she said.

Triva added that accepting a new investor would mean giving up some flexibility and autonomy, a sacrifice that should be compensated by some benefits to convince her family to strike a partnership.

The turnover of Copan, which was founded in 1979 by the late Giorgio Triva, Stefania’s father, is growing at a rate of around 60% so far this year, the CEO said.

Earlier this year, Apple Inc (AAPL.O) awarded $10 million to Copan’s California subsidiary to help it to boost its production of nasal swabs and other materials for collecting samples for COVID-19 tests.

Copan Group is based in the Lombardy region of Italy, which emerged in March as one of the regions worst hit by the pandemic.

Reporting by Francesca Landini and Emilio Parodi. Editing by Jane Merriman

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