FSI invests in Sterling, a leading Italian Pharmaceutical CDMO

    Masismiliano Romano



    Press release

    Perugia, Milan, 29th July 2022 – Sterling and FSI announce the signing of a binding agreement to support Sterling long term growth. Following the completion of the investment, FSI will hold 35% of the Sterling Group, with the remaining 65% held by the Ferlin Family, Sterling founder and long-term shareholder. A large portion of FSI investment will be structured as a capital increase, with the aim of providing Sterling with the financial resources to expand organically and through acquisitions. Both shareholders share the objective of creating a European leader in the production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients.

    In 2021, Sterling recorded €50 million revenues and employs 300 people. The Company is a leader in the production of active principles to treat pathologies for oncologic, respiratory, and dermatologic diseases. More than 90% of sales are generated outside of Italy. Over the years, Sterling positioned itself as a long-term partner for primary global pharmaceutical companies, becoming a key point of reference for innovation and manufacturing efficiency.

    Italy is the leading pharmaceutical manufacturing country in Europe with over €31 billion sales, followed by Germany and France. Italy is also the European leader in terms of export, that represent about 85% of total sales. In the 2010-2020 timeframe, Italian pharmaceutical exports have grown by 140%. Despite such leading position in Europe, the Italian pharma industry is characterized by a high level of fragmentation, with only 11 companies recording over €500 million revenues.

    The healthcare sector is one of the primary sectors of focus for FSI, consistently with its role as Mission-Related investor in the Italian economy and with its investments focus on the NRRP (National Recovery and Resilience Plan).

    “The objective is to participate with determination in a necessary evolution of a sector of great pride for our country. The new alliance with FSI is designed to equip Sterling with an important financial asset, which will enable it to acquire excellent strategic resources with the purpose of realising the ambitious development plan envisaged by the Company for the next five years. This operation confirms Sterling willingness to invest in the continuous evolution of a reality that finds its roots in our genuine Umbria, with the intention of nurturing the development of the pharmaceutical sector in the local area and grow its position as a reference point at international level”, noted Simone Ferlin, Sterling Chairman and CEO.

    “FSI’s investment, in support of Sterling and in partnership with the Ferlin family, aims to accelerate the development of a beautiful Umbrian company in the sector of production of active pharmaceutical ingredients, where Italy holds a leading position at the European and worldwide level. The project, thanks to the capital increase made available to the company, aims to provide fuel for the company’s growth by strengthening investments in R&D, expanding the production base, and ensuring financial flexibility for acquisitions. FSI has identified the pharmaceutical sector as a priority. The hope is to accompany the Ferlin family in a transformational growth process similar to the one we have been undertaking for years with the Marcucci family in Kedrion”, said Maurizio Tamagnini, CEO of FSI.

    For this transaction, FSI was advised by ISP Healthcare (Business), KPMG (Financial and ESG), Studio Pavia & Ansaldo (Tax) and Ashurst (Legal). Sterling was advised by the law firm Stefano Mazzi.


    FSI (www.fondofsi.it) is an independent management company managing “FSI I”, an Italian Growth Private Equity Fund with capital commitments of ca. €1.4 bln. It is backed by leading institutional Italian and international investors, including the European Investment Fund (EIF) through the European Investment Bank (EIB), sovereign wealth funds of Middle East, Far East and Central Asia, asset managers, European insurance companies, banks and family offices of large industrial groups.
    FSI I targets investments in Partnership with Families and Corporates in mid-market Italian companies with development potential through a differentiated investment formula. The FSI investment formula is based on a moderate recourse to leverage and targets the objective of creating value through organic growth and acquisitions, sector consolidation and succession management. FSI pursues both minority investments with active governance rights and majority investments.



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