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PIVATO TAKES ITALIAN INFRASTRUCTURE TECHNOLOGY ON A WORLD TOUR
With sixty years’ experience in the civil construction, renovation, restoration and infrastructure industries, the Pivato Group (www.guerrinopivato.it) can lay claim to highly prestigious works involving considerable undertakings in terms of planning and technology. And, in a situation where the public and private building industries are experiencing difficulties in the developed markets (Europe and the US), Pivato has succeeded in maintaining its turnover levels, as Mr Nicola Pivato, head of the Italian company’s information quality system and management control, explains.
I ask him: which countries currently present opportunities despite the current slump in your target market?
Thanks to the work and credibility we have achieved over the years, today we are exclusive operators in Pakistan, where Pivato is the only Italian construction company. We have been operating in Pakistan since 1993, redeveloping existing road structures with the aim of ensuring longer life cycles than those normally achieved.
How do you prolong the lifespan of infrastructures?
Our secret weapon is “Pavital”, an innovative technology for the construction of road foundations. Pavital is a catalysed mixture made from a by-product of cast iron mixed with inert materials (including sand) and a gypsum-based catalyst. It performs better than traditional road foundations, being more durable and preventing subsidence of the tarmac laid over the foundation. It allows a reduction in thickness to an average of 30-35 centimetres compared to the 50-70 of traditional foundations. It also reduces working times by 30% since the mixture is laid, compacts and is immediately more stable, and reduces costs by 30%. Pavital technology is suitable for use not only in the construction of roads and motorways but also of airport runways and stopping areas, goods yards and ports and for strengthening railway embankments.
However, there is more to Pivato than Pavital. Over the years, your group has specialised in the construction of plants, buildings, shopping centres, bridges, viaducts, railways, airport runways and, more recently, building restoration.
Absolutely. We are a versatile company. At the beginning of 2007, we won a contract for the construction of three viaducts for the Fez-Taza motorway in Morocco, one of the new markets we are entering. The job is worth 35 million euros and involves the construction of what will be Morocco’s highest viaduct. Admittedly, there was some scepticism at first, but everyone now agrees that it was the right decision. Of all the international companies involved in the construction of the Moroccan motorway, we are at the most advanced stage in terms of work carried out. Here is an anecdote that made us feel very proud: a French competitor of ours came to take photographs at our site in order to work out our project development techniques.
In concrete terms, though, what does Pivato offer that enables it to win contracts in Morocco and the other markets?
Quite simply, we do good work, which means, in concrete terms, respecting quality standards and delivery times and tending to beat the agreed deadlines. This is not enough, however. In order to sufficiently understand foreign markets, we don’t jump in feet first. Instead, we make contacts with local companies first who help us to understand how the system works in a certain country and the opportunities it offers. The next step is taking part in public invitations to tender.
Do you have any contracts in the civil construction industry in countries other than North Africa and Pakistan, where you operate in the public works sector?
We have begun work on a high-quality residential building project in Switzerland. It consists of a total of 82 residential units ranging from chalets and mini-apartments to apartments in complexes. The contract is worth around 35 million euros.
That’s a significant amount of money for a group that closed 2007 with a turnover of 75 million euros (35% made abroad), distributed fairly evenly between the building industry (34%), infrastructures (46%) and restoration (20%). Which is your most profitable area of business?
We make the best profit margins in project management, which is a blend of different areas of expertise. Essentially, we provide consultancy to third party companies which manage the development of projects in complete autonomy. We recently closed such a deal in Libya involving primary and secondary urbanisation works in the Cyrenaica region. The initiative is worth about 40 million euros with a two-figure profit margin. I won’t go into details but I can assure you that this is as much as ten times the margin for our traditional business.