If you go through the members of the board of directors of some of the most famous Italian companies, you are likely to come across a few surprises. Because among the names that you find, many of them will not be Italian.
Below, we will see a list of foreign-owned Italian companies, which have become such as a result of mergers, sales or, as sadly, and ever more frequently, sold off to the highest bidder.
Peroni. The “Beer of the People’s” historical production passed first into British hands in 2003, and then into Belgian hands, to end up becoming an integral part of the Japanese group Asashi Breweries in 2016. Despite the many changes in ownership, the factories of Rome, Padua and Bari are still fully operational.
Few companies can represent Italian factory life during the 1960s as Italcementi. The Heidelberg Germans bought it in 2015 from the Pesenti family, its historic owners, following a bid of € 1.67 billion.
Not even the trains symbolising the Italian acceleration of the third millennium are Italian anymore: the production of the Frecciarossa became Japanese with Hitachi in 2015, with an evidently paltry bid, but instead this was considered acceptable: € 36 million.
On the backdrop of what happened to other international clubs (Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain above all), even some native Italian football clubs have only kept their name. How can we not think of Bologna and Rome, which are owned by Americans, and the two teams in Milan: the Indonesian entrepreneur Eric Thohir bought a majority stake in the Nerazzurri (Inter) club becoming its president in 2016, while more recently in 2017, there was a negotiation that led the Rossoneri (Milan) into the hands of a consortium of Chinese companies headed by Li Yonghong.
Last but not least, there’s Pirelli. Managed for more than a century by family members bearing the company name, it has been led by Marco Tronchetti Provera since 1996, who sold the company to the Chinese Ren Jianxin at the end of 2015. The latter was already head of the chemical industry giant ChemChina (read all Pirelli managers). It is worth noting that the company in Milan, thanks to the new Chinese ownership, is considering a large-scale return to the stock market with the Pirelli 2017 IPO (more information on the Pirelli IPO also in the article in Reuters stock market section).
Nevertheless, IPO Pirelli and the company’s return on the market show that Italian companies, in the hands of foreigners, still have great success. It is no coincidence that Pirelli exceeded AIB with the largest European IPO this year and that Pirelli reports growth ahead of IPO, two signs of how foreigners can be very forward-looking managing Italian companies.