Curtume Bolzano, based in São Leopoldo, are specialists in footwear leathers and their high tech tannery produces leathers for brands such as Cole Haan, Nine West and J C Penney.

The company specialise in soft milled and patent leathers. The production line includes men’s and women’s footwear and leathergoods. They do not make a great volume but strive to create distinctive articles. The tannery’s researchers liaise with trend leaders in Europe and work with technicians at chemical companies to deduce the latest fashion trends.

Director Sergio Bolzan believes that creating fashionable leathers is one of the advantages offered by his company. ‘The product is high tech and very fashionable with high added value.’ He believes that ‘the market is always looking for something new; you can’t stop diversifying in Brazil.’

The company’s principal export market is China but they also sell to India, Australia and the domestic market as well. They have twenty years’ experience and work mostly with Brazilian raw materials. Production in 2006 is 2,000m/day.

Water treatment has been a priority for the company. Currently, 40% of the water used in the plant is reused; however, within the next three to four years the Bolzano tannery aims to reuse 100%. Sergio Bolzan believes that a common effluent treatment plant for tanners in the area would be a great asset.

According to Bolzan, the company are not planning any major investments at the moment as the situation in Brazil ‘does not encourage investment.’ He adds ‘the exchange rate is a big problem for tanners. For this panorama to improve, interest rates have to come down and companies need cheaper credit facilities.’