Seeing Cash More Clearly with UniCredit
by Marco Bigatti, Group Treasurer & Chief Accounting Officer, Luxottica Group
Leading eyewear group Luxottica has had a relationship with UniCredit in Italy for many years. Harmonisation and standardisation of the payments and collections landscape through SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) provided an opportunity to extend this relationship more widely, streamline processes and connectivity, and position the company for future cash management innovation.
Luxottica Group is a leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of fashion, luxury, sports and performance eyewear, with a global wholesale network across more than 150 countries, with over 7,200 optical and sun retail stores in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, China, South Africa and Europe. The Group’s strong, well-balanced brand portfolio includes iconic proprietary brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue Eyewear, Persol, Oliver Peoples and Alain Mikli, as well as highly attractive and prestigious licenses including Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Bulgari, Chanel, Dolce&Gabbana, Michael Kors, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., Versace and Valentino.
Product design, development and manufacturing take place in Luxottica’s six production facilities in Italy, three factories in China, one in Brazil and one facility in the United States devoted to sports and performance eyewear. Luxottica also has a small plant in India serving the local market. Full year sales in 2015 amounted to €8.8bn, of which 41% was wholesale and 59% retail sales.
We have a centralised treasury organisation at Luxottica with regional treasury centres in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, and a co-ordinated approach in Latin America. We have around 20 treasury professionals working across these centres. At a headquarters level, our treasury team manages our key bank and rating agency relationships, and takes responsibility for cash and risk management, corporate finance and funding. Our regional treasury centres manage local bank relationships, centralise liquidity at a regional level, manage foreign exchange risk and perform local cash flow planning. Treasury also works closely with the shared service centres to co-ordinate and supervise cash management processes.
A catalyst for change
We already worked closely with UniCredit for cash management in Italy, including a customised bank account reporting solution. With the introduction of SEPA, however, we recognised the opportunity to rationalise our cash management bank relationships, particularly in central and eastern Europe where our bank relationships were more fragmented, and streamline bank connectivity based on a single platform.
We appointed UniCredit as our SEPA adviser to understand the new payments and collections landscape and the implications for our business, and optimise our cash management processes and technology, including straight-through processing and real-time access to complete, accurate information. As an international business operating globally, with both wholesale and retail cash management requirements, we needed to work with a bank that understood our current and future needs, provided the depth of network offering in the relevant countries, and could offer the appropriate solutions. It was also important to recognise the changing nature of the payments and collections landscape globally, so our partner bank needed to be forward-looking and have both the ability and appetite to invest in innovation.