Today, unlike Italy, many of the most dynamic and competitive countries have developed precise communications strategies for their country’s image and have created the framework for monitoring and managing its ranking in international classifications. In addition, these classifications – in which Italy is always near the bottom – make use of methodological features (for example, many are based on qualitative surveys) that lead to even significant distortion (as in the case of Italy) in what is the actual situation.
In 2018, in light of the success of the first two years, The European House – Ambrosetti has launched a third year of activities. The 2018 ranking was presented on September 9, during our 44th annual Forum “Intelligence on the World, Europe, and Italy“.
Concurrently, as the result of a scouting process of international best practices in the management of country-image, The European House – Ambrosetti has prepared a dashboard for the five main economies in the European Union (France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain). In addition, the Italian edition includes an appendix dedicated to Italy in which a number of recommendations and operational proposals have been formulated for the Italian government, with the aim of implementing an action strategy to improve Italy’s image and attractiveness.
In September 2017, GEA Group completed the acquisition of 100% of Pavan Group, a Venetian company specialized in the production of machines for processing fresh and dried pasta, snack and cereal products. The acquisition is added to those of Cmt and Comas (in 2015) and Imaforni (in 2016). The Pavan Group has a turnover of around EUR 160m and employs 680 employees in production sites in Italy and in China. Together with the other Italian companies that are part of the Gea Group, it generates a turnover of around EURO 600m, with 1,800 employees. Thanks to this acquisition, Italy has consolidated as one of the reference countries for the German multinational. (Source: Il Sole 24 Ore)
Blue Elephant Energy AG (BEE), a Germany-based company that acquires and operates solar and wind parks and other infrastructure projects in the field of renewable energy, has acquired a 22 MW solar park portfolio in Italy (located within a 50-km radius in the Marche and Abruzzo regions) from Viridis Energia, an Italy-based company engaged in the development, acquisition, revamping and management of renewable energy plants, for an estimated consideration of EUR 55m. The acquisition expands BEE's Italian presence from 20MW to 42MW and takes its total installed capacity of solar and wind farm portfolio to over 250MW. The transaction will provide resources for Viridis' green investments pipeline strategy (>250MW), targeting the domestic renewable energies market. The acquired portfolio is anticipated to contribute over EUR 10m to the BEE's annual turnover from 2018 onwards. (Source: Press release Watson, Farley & Williams LLP, 2018 February and Database Merger Market)
Ebro Foods, the listed Spain-based company engaged in the production, marketing and selling of rice, pasta and sauces, milk, natural ingredient based products and bio technology products, has agreed to acquire 52% in Geovita Functional Ingredients, an Italy-based company engaged in the production and sale of legumes, rice, fast-cooking grains and other healthy ingredients, for a total consideration of EUR 16.5m. The acquisition also includes Geovita's subsidiary, Geovita Nutrition. The transaction is in line with Ebro’s strategy to grow into convenience and healthy food segment. The acquisition will provide Ebro market differentiation though the solutions offered by Geovita. Geovita has three production plants in the Italian towns of Bruno, San Giovanni Lupaloto and Villanova Monferrato, and a workforce of 94 employees. (Source: Ebro Foods SA press release, 2017 September and Database Merger Market)
Laboratorios Cinfa, the Spain-based pharmaceutical company engaged in manufacturing, development and sale of medicinal drugs, has acquired Sakura Italia, the Italy-based pharmaceutical company engaged in the manufacturing of medical devices and food supplements, for a consideration of EUR 20m. The quality of Sakura Italia’s products and services will enable Laboratorios Cinfa to expand its operations, thereby strengthening its future growth level in the healthcare segment. The acquisition will also increase the profitability of Laboratorios Cinfa. (Source: Press release Sakura Italia, 2017 July and Database Merger Market)
Artsana, the Italy-based producer of baby products, health, cosmetics and beauty care products has acquired 50% stake in Prenatal Retail Group, the Italy-based seller of toys and baby products, from Giochi Preziosi S.p.A., the Italy-based company engaged in the development, marketing and distribution of toys, for an estimated consideration of EUR 105m. Prenatal Retail Group was a 50:50 joint venture between Artsana and Giochi Preziosi which took place in 2015, and this acquisition will effectively end the joint venture, thereby giving 100% ownership of Prenatal to Artsana. Prenatal Retail has 4150 employees and reported revenue of EUR 1bn in 2016. The acquisition is subject to European Anti-trust's approval. The Prenatal group includes Toys Center, King Jouet, Prénatal stores, and Bimbostore, thereby having its reach in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland. (Source: Database Merger Market)
IMA, an Italy-based manufacturer of automatic packaging machines for the tea, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, has agreed to acquire 60% stake in Eurosicma S.p.A., an Italy-based manufacturer of automatic machines and systems for horizontal flowpack and fold packaging for the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, from Redaelli Family for a consideration of EUR 26m. he acquisition will strengthen IMA’s business of automatic flowpack and fold packaging machines by expanding its current product range and creating significant production and commercial opportunities with other companies. It will also provide a platform to IMA to enhance and boost its industrial presence in Italy.The transaction will enable Eurosicma to expand and grow its business. (Source: Press release IMA, 2017 July ande Database Merger Market
A global player in the sector of motorway and airport infrastructure, Atlantia manages 5,000 km of toll motorways present in Italy, Brazil, Chile, India and Poland, and manages Fiumicino and Ciampino airports in Italy and the three airports of Nice, Cannes-Mandelieu and Saint-Tropez in France. It is a leading technological company and number one in the world in electronic toll collection and infomobility. In 2005, it has undertaken an important process of international development of its activities, continuing to invest in Italy. In 2013, it entered the airport sector, managing the two Rome airports of Fiumicino and Ciampino.In 2016, it consolidated its presence in the sector with the acquisition of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA), the company that controls the airports of Nice, Cannes-Mandelieu and Saint-Tropez. In 2016, the company’s revenues reached EUR 5.5b, up 3.4% from 2015, with an EBITDA of EUR 3.38b (61.6% of revenues), profits of EUR 1.1b (20.5% of revenues) and personnel figures averaging nearly 15,000 employees. Listed on the stock exchange in July 2017, it boasts a capitalization of EUR 21.5 bln (Source: Why Italy is definitely alive and kicking, 2017)
On 19 January 2016, the company announced an investment plan for some EUR 100m over three years to favor the country’s digital transformation, promoting the development of skills and providing support to innovative start-ups. At present, 89,000 students have attended Cisco’s academies for digital, around EUR 5m have been invested in the venture capital fund Invitalia and an agreement has been reached with the Leonardo Group to promote cyber security among Italian companies facing the 4.0 transition. Cisco is a Californian multinational with 74,000 employees world-wide (approximately 50% outside the United States). Its revenues in 2016 were more than EUR 40b. In Italy, it is active through its subsidiary Cisco Systems Italy, a company which in 2015 employed nearly 370 workers and had revenues of around EUR 365 million. In Italy, approximately 80% of network data traffic uses Cisco technology. (Source: Why Italy is definitely alive and kicking, 2017)
Saint-Gobain is a French multinational of glass and building materials with activities in 67 Countries, with 180,000 employees and a global turnover of EUR 41b. In Italy, the Group has about 2,100 employees working in 23 production sites and, in 2017, has achieved a turnover of around EUR 700m. Recently Sicurglass Sud, a Group company based in Fasciano (Salerno) specialized in the study, design and construction of windshields for transport vehicles, has won a contract to develop the new windscreens of trains destined for Chinese High Speed and those for trains of the new Paris metro line. (Source: Il Sole 24 Ore)
Nuova Ciba, a historic company in Reggio Emilia, leader in the design and construction of automatic systems for the transport, storage and dosing of products for the rubber industry with a turnover of EUR 14m., was acquired by the German Group Zeppelin. The operation is part of the strategy of internationalization of Nuova Ciba and will guarantee operational continuity and the conservation of entrepreneurial activities and employment in Reggio Emilia, ensuring new business opportunities compared to those already developed and consolidated over the years. The Zeppelin Group operates in 190 countries with approximately 7,800 employees and an annual turnover of around EUR 2.3b. (Source: Corriere della Sera, 2018)
Piquadro, the renowned leather goods company headquartered in Bologna and a listed company since 2007, has concluded the acquisition of Lancel from the Richemont group. With this operation it Piquadro expands its distribution network abroad which, through Lancel, includes 60 directly-owned stores and 11 in franchising. Through its retail and wholesale sales network, the Lancel brand is also present in 39 countries, including China and Russia. Piquadro In 2017, its revenues were 97.6 million euros (+28.6% on 2016). In the acquisition transaction, Richemont will receive a share of the Lancel group’s profits for the ten years subsequent to the closing, for a share not to exceed 35 million euros.
The acquisition is part of a brand aggregation and consolidation strategy begun this past year with the acquisition of The Bridge, an established Florence brand, with revenues over 25 million euros.
Total - the international energy group, fourth largest oil and gas company in the world and one of the major producers of low-carbon emission energy - has been active throughout Italy for over 60 years. Its activity ranges from supplying fuel for freight transport and aviation, lubricants, additives and special fluids (primarily in northern Italy), to extraction and processing of oil and natural gas. Specifically, in Basilicata, it has its largest oil exploration and extraction project currently active in the country (Tempa Rossa). This project, with an expected economic impact of over 7 billion euros for the local area during its lifecycle, represents Total’s largest contribution to Italy and its economy, and is an example of how major international industrial groups believe in the country’s potential.
STMicroelectronics is the world leader in the production of semiconductor-based solutions for Smart Driving and the Internet of Things. With revenues of $8.3 billion and 45,500 employees around the world, it is also a leader in innovation technology: 7,400 people involved in R&D activities and approximately 17,000 patents, 9,500 patent families and 500 new patent applications filed in 2017. Over 2018, STMicroelectronics Italia plans to hire permanently about 150 young people with degrees and diplomas in technical/scientific areas. These hirings, spread across its plants in Agrate Brianza (Monza Brianza), Cornaredo (Milan) and Catania, involve electronics engineers and graduates in physics, computer science or materials science.
Unilever is one of the main companies operating in the Food, Home and Personal Care markets. Present in over 190 countries around the world, its products reach 2.5 billion consumers each day. On a global level, it employs around 169,000 people and in 2016 it had a turnover of 52.7 billion euros. About 57% of the company’s turnover is in developing countries and emerging markets. Unilever Italia closed 2016 with a turnover of 1.4 billion euros, 10% of the Unilever Europe total. Today, the company has over 3,000 employees who work primarily at the Rome corporate headquarters and its five production plants: Caivano (Naples), Sanguinetto (Verona), Casalpusterlengo (Lodi), Pozzilli (Isernia) and Mappano (Turin), which are among the most advanced in Europe in terms of size, safety, technology, respect for the environment and productivity. The Casalpusterlengo plant also boasts an international-level R&D center.
ABB is a leader in technologies for energy and automation that allow utilities, industry and clients in transport and infrastructure to improve their performance while at the same time reducing environmental impact. Member companies of the ABB Group operate in over 100 countries and employ approximately 132,000 people. ABB Italia has a turnover of more than 2.2 billion euros which represents 7% of the Group’s revenues worldwide, and exports account for 64% of total sales. The company has about 6,000 employees throughout Italy and is an active component of the country and its economy.
The continuation of a history of innovation that spans more than 125 years, ABB, today, is writing the future of industrial digitalization and is guiding the fourth industrial and energy revolution. For more than four decades in the front lines of the digital technologies sector, the company is a leader in digital launching and connection of equipment and systems, with an installation base of over 70,000 control systems which interconnect 70 million devices.
Toyota Material Handling Italia is the Italian branch of the Toyota Material Handling Group (TMHG), a member of the Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO). Founded by Sakichi Toyota in 1926 to produce automatic looms, TICO began producing cars in 1933 and forklifts in 1956. Today, it has four major areas of business: automotive, material handling, textile equipment and other. As of March 2017, TICO’s turnover was 18.9 billion euros, of which 8.7 billion euros in the Material Handling Division alone, with approximately 250,000 units on the market. During the same period, the European section registered a record 102,000 units sold (more than a third of the global level) with a turnover of over 2.2 billion euros, a workforce of 10,300 individuals in the various corporate areas, of which 4,900 involved in service functions. Toyota Material Handling Italia closed fiscal year 2017 with a 24% share of the market, over 10,900 new forklifts placed on the market and consolidated turnover of 250 million euros.
Headquartered in Tokyo, it employs 100,000 professionals in over 50 countries around the world, including more than 2,700 in Italy alone. Its revenues for the year 2015-2016 were $13.5 billion. It has increased its investments in Italy, especially in the south of the country (Naples and Cosenza), with major investment in innovation and human resources development. Over the last three years, the Italian division of this Japanese professional services colossus has undertaken major investment in Italy, with constant growth in its offices in the south: Cosenza (jewel in the crown of NTT DATA from a worldwide perspective for its R&D center and which today numbers over 200 new people), Naples and Rome, centers in which there has been an average increase of 20% in new hirings on a national basis. Southern Italy also shines in terms of the universities from which those newly-hired by NTT DATA over the three-year period 2014-2017 graduated: 45% of the young people hired come from southern universities (in particular, the University of Calabria and the Federico II University of Naples), 33% from universities in central Italy and 18% from those in northern Italy. “Our new hiring program and the data pertaining to the selection made by NTT DATA Italia over the past three years reflect the exponential growth of our company nationally, with special focus on the promotion of young people, the south and women.”
Amazon will be creating 1,700 new, permanent jobs in Italy by the end of the year, to exceed 5,200 employees, compared with the 3,500 at the end of 2017. The company will be hiring people both for warehouse duties and personnel with engineering and software development responsibilities. Since 2010, Amazon has invested over 1.6 billion euros in Italy.
Following the opening of two new distribution centers in Passo Corese and Vercelli, and five logistics hubs throughout Italy in 2017, this year Amazon has opened three new logistics hubs — in Buccinasco (Milan), Burago (Monza and Brianza) and Rome — and will be opening a new logistics hub in Casirate (Bergamo). The company is also hiring highly-trained individuals for its Vercelli Tech Center which focuses on the implementation of distribution center technological processes.
Philip Morris International is one of the leading global players in the tobacco sector and the leader in Italy and the majority of European markets thanks to a portfolio that includes six of the fifteen major international brands. In recent years, the company has launched a process of transforming its business model through focusing on innovative products which can potentially reduce the risk to smokers, such as heated tobacco products (also called heat-not-burn products). This process has entailed significant investment into research and development worth over $3 billion and involved the work of 400 specifically-assigned expert scientists in the two R&D centers in Switzerland and Singapore who have brought to development four technological platforms, over 200 scientific publications and the registration of 3200 patents.
In Italy, the company’s transformation choices have resulted in significant investment in the Bologna area to create the first plant in the world for the production of new-generation products—one of the largest greenfields in Italy in the last twenty years. This facility involved an investment of over €1 billion and created added value within the Italian industrial supply chain worth more than €890 million and resulted in the hiring of 1200 people. Since 2011, Philip Morris Italia is also the no. 1 purchaser of tobacco in Italy thanks to the long-term agreements signed with the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. The most recent agreement, signed in 2015, runs until 2020 and provides assurance and stability for the agriculture supply chain to a total value of €500 million.
The Chinese Qingdao Haier Group has finalized the purchase of the Candy Group for €475 million. The acquisition will become operational from 2019 and Haier, a world leader in the washing machine sector, with a 14.3% share of the market, will set up its European headquarters in Brugherio in the Province of Monza.