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TECHNOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS COMBINED IN TONUTTI AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
With 98% of its turnover deriving from exports, the company boasts a family tradition of agricultural machinery production dating back to 1864. An additional and increasingly important selling point is an emphasis on environmental concerns and the use of renewable energy. The Tonutti Group is based in Remanzacco, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, with operational branches in Italy, Russia and the USA. We asked the President, Carlo Tonutti, what means the company has had to employ to combat the world economic crisis, which countries constitute the Group’s most important markets and what still remains intact of the old tradition.
President Tonutti, your sector has been amongst those hit by the recent crisis. How have you responded to it?
We have indeed been affected by it. This year is proving to be a period of stabilization after the crisis. In 2012, there will be a real recovery.
We have responded by investing in our research and development sector, and in our human capital. It is always useful in times of crisis to pause and consider these aspects, and to resolve any outstanding problems.
In which parts of the world does the Tonutti Group operate?
We have had a presence in the USA and Canada since 1985. However, it was here, ten years ago, that we felt the first economic impact, with the exchange rates working against us. We then turned to the Russia market and in the Perm region, in 1997, we established the first (and still the only) manufacturing district for Italian agricultural machinery in the country. Personally, I have always believed in on-the-spot production, which we have tested out both in the USA, where the Group has a plant in Memphis, and in Russia. We are also present in important countries like China and India, amongst other places.
How important has the internationalization process been for your Group?
It has been vital. I still remember when I joined the company in 1972 and realized that the Italian market was becoming too small for the number of operators. My first flight abroad was to Pakistan, and since then I have never stopped travelling around the world. I think it is essential nowadays to invest in countries such as Russia and China which, due to their vast size, can almost be classed as continents. It is also important to get involved in more complex markets, such as South America, which, country by country, can yield some good results. Then there is the African continent, which has never been sufficiently investigated.
Your Group has been investing in renewable energy sources. Can you tell us what this involves?
Our projects are particularly concerned with the production of biogas, bio-diesel and biomass fuel. Our agricultural mechanization is at the cutting edge in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, and also has useful applications in the field of clean energy.
What do you still retain of your tradition?
What remains above all is our wonderful museum, portraying the history of agricultural mechanization; and also our values, such as our commitment to safeguarding the environment.