CEO Silei: “With Carlyle, Dainese focuses on Asia and the USA to double its revenues in five years”

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“We are very happy, excited by new challenges”. The voice of Cristiano Silei, for seven years the CEO of Dainese, a Vicenza-based company leader in technical clothing for motorcycling (with catalogs also for skis and bicycles) has always been full of enthusiasm, just sold by the Bahrain fund “Investcorp” to the American Carlyle. The Venetian brand chosen by Valentino Rossi and many other champions in the history of motorcycling was valued at 630 million euros. The management team will remain, in the wake of continuity with the past.

Any concerns?

«Far from it. Carlyle is in the “champions league” of investment funds, companies of this type can be counted on the fingers of one hand. They have great experience in brands that have a direct relationship with the consumer. I quote the cases of Moncler and Golden Goose ( luxury sneakers, ed), just to name two, but their history is studded with great successes “.


“We are a very ambitious company, we have an important growth plan”.

Let us understand …

«We want to aim for an expansion of the market in Asia and in the United States, where we are already present. But we want to do more ».

What are the revenue targets?

“We have a turnover of 250 million euros a year. As a percentage of revenue, we aim for double-digit growth, as we have done for the past seven years. In the next five years we will double our turnover ».

Reach 500 million in 5 years? Ambitious goal. How do you plan to achieve it?

«We have an aggressive plan regarding the points of sale, we will open six of them shortly in important locations. Two in Paris, one in Miami, one in San Diego, one in Madrid and another, the second, in Rome ».

Will this be enough?

“As you know, our philosophy is to offer the public head-to-toe coverage with our products. And we do this with the motorcycle sector, but also with skiing and cycling. To do this in the best possible way, we have a chain of 38 owned stores, which together with e-commerce allow us to convey the content of our products and their correct value on the market. This is because we do not work on fashion-related products, it is all material with a high technical content. The people who work with us and for us are very well trained in this aspect. And above all, the direct relationship is the best way to know what the public thinks of what we manufacture and market ».

What about innovation?

“We have a plan full of product news. The Dainese brand is traditionally very strong in the racing world, not only on two wheels, also in skiing or sailing. Speaking of the motorcycle sector, we have had a nice touring collection for several years, but this year we will make an incredible leap in quality ».

Tell us some previews …

«I’ll give you an example. We will shortly present a new concept modular helmet in carbon fiber, the “Tourmodular”, which equips the latest generation of intercom (intercom system, ed) designed together with the specialized company Cardo. We will use a new technology, the ” mesh “(in a group of motorcyclists, each intercom system becomes a sort of antenna to broaden the range of the signal, ed). Then, we will have a renewed series of clothing, increasingly optimized for use” in layers “, in in order to better manage the needs of the motorcyclist. It will be a line designed for great travelers, people who travel kilometers and quickly pass from one environmental condition to another “.

The new concept modular helmet in carbon fiber, the “Tourmodular”, which will soon arrive on the market

Let us understand something more about the “attack” strategy on the markets of Asia and the United States …

«We want to grow significantly in these two continents. We already have nine stores in the States, but we will open two a year. We will lean on our California office and Carlyle’s American root can help. But we are also present in China, where we are the reference point for fans of the sector. For this reason, we want to accelerate the growth process there too ».

Are there any acquisitions in sight?

«It is a difficult path to predict. In 2020 we acquired Tcx (motorcycle shoes, ed) and we will continue to look around, even outside the world of motorcycles. We are “multisport”, we also work on skis and bikes, always paying attention to the head-to-toe philosophy, to offer customers a global service ».

How can the war in Ukraine affect this project? How are relations with Russia and China?

«Let me give you a premise. I believe that no one has fully understood the real dynamics of what happens, I think they are more subtle and complex than what appears at first sight. In particular, it is difficult to make predictions with China. But I struggle to see a scenario in which the situation could affect our Chinese market. But it is reasonable to think that, beyond the geopolitical tensions, there could be a more or less natural inflationary spiral or in any case subject to speculation. We will have to manage the procurement and price of products wisely. As for Russia, our business in that country represents less than one percent ».

What will change after the Carlyle acquisition?

«I would say that the immediate impact on ordinary business is limited. We will continue to work in the same direction outlined yesterday, executing plans that have proven to work, keeping our eyes open to seize any acquisition opportunities and to further accelerate growth ».

Until the sale to Carlyle, the founder of the Lino Dainese group had kept a stake in the company. Now, it might come out, but there are talks about it. Could you tell us something?

“There are clear and precise rules on the sale of shares. It’s not for me to talk about it. My job is to manage the company. I can say that the right formula will be sought so that Lino Dainese remains associated in some way, even if he has not been part of the management for 7 years. Dainese’s part of innovation is done by Dainese, with four research centers dealing with helmets, electronics, technical clothing, footwear and gloves. Lino Dainese’s D-Air Lab, of which Dainese spa is also a member, develops applications for air bag technology working on our licenses. Those special productions are designed to be used outside Dainese’s areas of competence ».

Can you give an example?

“There are projects in the field of accident prevention and also one to help the elderly reduce the impact of any accidental falls. I hope it can be achieved as soon as possible, it could have a significant social impact ».

A dream that you would like to realize?

«I would like Italy to become world champion in sport with Dainese».

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