Home > Spotlight
Guzzini: Italy, a market with great added value
Rome (Adnkronos Multimedia) - Investing in Italy can be convenient for foreign investors because it is a country of the European Union offering a great added value. This is the opinion of Adolfo Guzzini, the managing director of a renowned Italian firm in the lighting technology sector,
"iGuzzzini Illuminazione" with its head offices in Recanati, in one of the most dynamic regions in Italy, the Marches. Up to a short while ago it was a family business, but it has rapidly grown into a large firm. Today it contributes to the Italian national income and is located in many countries all over the world, ranging from Germany to France, from Great Britain to Switzerland.
Why should foreign investors take a gamble on Italy?
Because, in spite of all, Italy is a country where its lifestyle, culture, the overall vitality of the population do provide all kinds of added value. This is true, for example, for investments of both an industrial and cultural nature.
What special advantages does the Italian market present?
The advantage for investors is that Italy is located at the centre of southern Europe, and above all of the Mediterranean area, which will always play a role of greater importance in many developing economies. It is a country with a vital role in the future of the new European Union. The Mediterranean sea, with the Suez canal as its communication route, also has Italy at its centre.
What are the trends in your sector?
There has been a strong reduction at the international level in the household items sector - especially kitchen utensils and tableware. This has occurred not only because of the overall fall in consumption (we are dealing with useful but not indispensable products ), but also due to Chinese competition.
What reforms and investments would be opportune to improve Italian competitiveness?
Infrastructural investments on a grand scale; pension reform; incentives for research and development; starting up new plans for inserting small- and medium-term- businesses on the international market. For example, there is a lack of basic research in Italy allowing for the improvement of production techniques, materials and telecommunications. When we speak of space research or of other large projects, the benefits to be drawn from these are not always taken into account. It is clear that we are speaking of indirect investment, but there is a need to carry out research and development in sectors with a high technological content. I would remind you that the positive work being carried out in Italy is, above all, thanks to the innovative skills of Italian entrepreneurs.
Why invest in Italy if the cost of labour is higher than in other countries?
First of all because Italians have a talent for good living, which means, among other things, that they have the qualified human resources ready to undertake big gambles. Therefore, even if the cost of labour in Italy is higher, coming here means investing in a country with a higher added value. We need to strike out more towards the production of innovative products and towards development, without saving on labour. On the contrary, we need to pay our workers more, although there is also a need to downsize certain parasitical sectors, especially in public administration.
Has your company made any move in this direction?
Our firm is a leader in three sectors (Fratelli Guzzini, iGuzzini illuminazione and Teuco Guzzini) and we have made investments in all three fields, ranging from lighting down to household items. However, we must insist that greater attention is given to intellectual property rights: we have to pay designers, architects, university professors. It is not acceptable and it is certainly unfortunate that Italian products are copied, or even counterfeited. The European Union should intervene in a more judicious way to safeguard copyright.
What is your position on the foreign market?
We export a lot abroad, both as regards lighting (60%) and also for Teuco and Fratelli Guzzini products (40%). Gaining access to a foreign country with a "Made in Italy" product - which has always been appreciated and provides a great added value - means becoming familiar with the culture, adapting to its system, getting to know its services. We export all over the world, above all to Japan and North America, but in these countries it does happen that our products are copied and sold at a lower cost.
If you were a foreign investor, why would you be interested in Italy?
Italy is a country which is very open to outside cultures, and foreign brands. Therefore it presents a huge opportunity for foreign investors. I really hope, above all, that firms active in competitive sectors of high technology (aerospace, car manufacturing and so on) will come to our country. Above all we must open our doors to these types of business.