Normandy is known for its butter, milk and Calvados but it is also a world leader in terms of crocodile skins and the business is about to get even bigger.
Normandy firm France Croco in Saint-Martin d’Aubigny in Eure supplies crocodile skin for watch straps, shoes, bags and other fashion items to some of the worldâ€™s biggest luxury fashion brands.
And business is booming at a time when exotic skins are becoming a must have fashion item. The firm has just been acquired by Kering, the French luxury group previously known as PPR and the business will continue in Normandy.
Kering confirmed that it is planning to invest in the future of the business and increase capacity because of growing demand for crocodile skins which all come from sustainable sources.
â€˜France Croco has the highest standards for sustainability and the conservation of wildlife species will being able to supply the finest crocodile products to the fashion industry,â€™ said a spokesman.
The firm was founded in 1974 by Jacques Lewkowicz and is currently managed by his son Dan. The spokesman added that the firmâ€™s factory in Normandy, which is one of the largest crocodile tanneries in the world and currently employs around 60 people, will be expanded.
â€˜This acquisition will allow Keringâ€™s brands to further secure a sustainable supply of high quality crocodilian skins. This vertical integration is part of the strategy of Kering to better support its brands to help them reach their potential. Kering plans to invest in the tannery in the coming months in order to increase its production capacity,â€™ the company said in a statement.
â€˜France Crocoâ€™s activities are highly complementary to Caravel, another tannery owned by Kering, specialised in sourcing and tanning of precious skins. This transaction will thus allow Kering to also reinforce its leading role in the luxury market,â€™ it explained.
â€˜This operation does not change France Crocoâ€™s long term supply relations implemented with suppliers and customers. Dan Lewkowicz will remain chief executive officer of the company,â€™ it added.
The Kering Group is one of Franceâ€™s most successful conglomerates and develops major luxury, sport and lifestyle brands including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard, Qeelin, Puma, Volcom, Cobra, Electric and Tretorn.
The firmâ€™s chairman is FranÃ§ois-Henri Pinault who was born in Rennes and is married to film star Salma Hayek. He is one of Franceâ€™s richest men.