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STEVANATO BECOMES EVER MORE INTERNATIONAL ALONGSIDE MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES
Stevanato, a group based in Piombino Dese in the province of Padua, is not only the glass packaging leader in the pharmaceutical industry (indeed, it is the first global manufacturer of insulin tubular injection vials for the treatment of diabetes), but also operates an Engineering division to produce glass tube processing and inspection devices for said industry.
Even in the harsh economic times of late in Italy, this 240M EUR (as of 2013) business has grown at a rate of 15-16%, while maintaining high profitability with an EBITDA of 59 million.
Although a family business, Stevanato has soon understood the increasing complexity of running this business. Accordingly, it has expanded the family's operational management with the soft skills of an international matrix management structure, adopting at the same time a solid corporate governance practice, which sets the rules governing the group management and direction, effectively separating ownership from operations. Last June, the company opened a production plant in China after having started one in recent years in Monterrey, Mexico. At present, they are scouting the Brazilian market with a view to enter this promising market. This set of initiatives undoubtedly demonstrates Stevanato's strong international orientation, as described in this interview by its Vicepresident, Marco Stevanato.
Stevanato is an Italian group with a strong exports focus. When did this focus start and how do you see it evolving in the near future?
The decision was made in the seventies when, very much like today, we were in midst of a market downturn. At that time, we had just started building our network in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, several Eastern European countries, but also Russia and the United States. The strategy was to create permanent establishments to oversee the different markets. This is what we are also doing today by following the major international pharmaceutical groups in their expansion plans to the Asia-Pacific and South American regions.
Your group works with large international pharmaceutical companies. What is the perception of Italy abroad?
Italy is a country with very interesting and innovative companies, which is also regarded as a country in crisis, slow to adapt and hindered in its progress by redtape and complexity. For Italian manufacturers, this is the lay of the land one learns to live with over time. Foreign companies, however, find it difficult to invest in Italy in this context.
Stevanato has factories in Italy but also abroad. What are the differences between domestic and international manufacturing?
We produce in Italy and abroad. However, we did not start manufacturing abroad following a relocation strategy, but to oversee the international markets and be perceived as real local producers. Nowadays, manufacturing in Italy presents several issues mainly connected to labour flexibility. On the other hand, the cluster of skills available here can hardly be replicated anywhere else.
2015 is widely regarded as the year of recovery, especially in Italy. From his vantage point, would you consider this to be the right year to leave the crisis behind?
A weaker Euro, lower interest rates and falling oil prices suggest that 2015 is indeed the the last train we can catch to jump on the turnaround bandwagon. Personally, I doubt we will see a sharp turnaround. In any case, this seems a good opportunity for those seeking higher growth rates.