Top earners: these Italian companies generate over €1bn per year

italian companies 1 bn fiat

We have often discussed Italian startups, emerging industry trends and developing branches of Italian technology and economy. It would not do to forget, however, that Italy is among the top 10 industrial Countries in the world and that its economy, however puzzling and unpredictable it might occasionally look to international markets, is powered by several successful industries, in which powerhouse companies generate substantial revenues. Let’s take a look at the Italian companies that generate over €1 billion per year.

The north-south divide

As we have previously discussed, some notions about the differences between the North and South of Italy are stereotypes, while some are actually true. The idea that most profitable companies can be found in the Northern regions is one such. While the South thrives on tourism and on an economy of SMBs, Northern Italy is where the largest companies were established and prospered. In fact, four out of six of the regions that contain the largest Italian companies are in the Northern part of the Country (with Lazio and Tuscany being the exceptions). Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and Piedmont lead the way in industrial development. This doesn’t mean that the South has no significant industrial clusters to speak of, but they are individual exceptions, usually in the automotive and naval fields. These companies have been proved to perform better when powered by Italian capital. It should be noted that these industrial behemoths are few in number and, while their individual contribution to the Country’s GDP is substantial, they are a relatively small part of an economy, existing in a galaxy of smaller companies that never reach the stock market.

Top earners: these Italian companies generate over €1bn per year

The ranking we are referring to was elaborated by Crif, a global company specializing in credit bureau and business information, for Italian financial newspaper IlSole24Ore. Crif examined 258 Italian companies whose yearly revenue between 2016 and 2017 exceeded €1bn. Rounding out the top 7 are manufacturers and distributors of electricity and gas or oil companies, with two notable exceptions: Fiat Automobiles Group and Amazon EU, ranking respectively second and third, behind energy distributor GSE. Generally speaking, energy manufacturers and distributors rank extremely high, followed by automotive companies, retailers and pharmaceuticals. Food and fashion tend to rank in the middle, with an average revenue of €3bn to €4bn, while all the other industrial clusters bring up the rear. Traditional manufacturers account for less than half of the examined sample, which, again, seems to contradict the common notion of what industries are driving the growth of the Italian economy.

Future growth

The perceived political uncertainty and the vexed question of Italy’s public debt have in the past caused worry and concern in international markets and capitals and made them wary of considering long-term investments in Italy. It should be noted, however, how the labour market has been evolving, aligning itself to international standards, allowing companies to generate occupation as well as revenue. At the same time, inflation was constrained, thus ensuring reasonably steady consumer spending. From the companies’ perspective, moreover, low-interest rates and the improving conditions of the current banking system provide a significant incentive to invest and expand. As a result, industrial production is set to grow by almost 2% in 2018 and a further 1.5% in 2019.

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She is a part-time digital nomad. She would go full-time, if only she could stay away from Berlin for long enough without pining for a Pretzel. She was born in Italy and she enjoys life as an expat, but visits home often enough and can still remember how to bake a perfect lasagna. She is passionate about writing, marketing, languages and the systematic demolition of cultural stereotypes.

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