Large multinationals from abroad are a veritable resource for Italy: according to recent data they employ more than one million people and generate cumulative annual sales of some half a trillion euros, while capital investments from abroad equate to more than 15% of the country’s GDP. France’s Alstom, GE of the US and Germany’s Siemens are among the big global names which have been established in Italy since long time with huge operations.
General Electric recently spent as much as 3.3 billion euros to buy the controlling stake the airplane component manufacturer of Avio, a former Fiat aerospace unit which was taken over by Cinven investment firm and by government controlled defense group Finmeccanica. It was certainly a bargain for an experienced Italy’s connoisseur as the US giant which is doing business in the countries since the Thirties of last century. GE operations in Italy are growing fast even in tough markets time, as its sales in the last three years rose to 6.2 billion from 5.5 billion in 2010. The bulk of GE 8,000 employees strong presence in Italy is Nuovo Pignone, a Tuscany based power turbine and energy technology manufacturer it bought from Oil group Eni early in the Nineties when Italy was forced to put on sale several government owned assets in an effort to rein in its finances badly hit by the crisis which led to the old Italian lira and UK’s sterling devaluation in 1992.
Germany Siemens is among the oldest names of industrial Italy as it is active in the country since the XIX century. The Munich based power, transport and healthcare multinational employs nowadays more than 4,800 persons with sales exceeding 2 billion a year and is among the major manufactures active in the country, with production facilities and Research & Development centers of global standing. Siemens Italy is particularly strong in the healthcare industry and recently announced that its Sveppi laboratory near Venice will focus on testing new monitoring and diagnostic solutions and equipments.
Among large conglomerates who more recently decided to invest in Italy there is France’s Alstom, which is in Italy since 1998 with operations in the power production and transmission as well as in the rail transportation through its Italian units Power Italia Spa, Alstom Grid Spa and Alstom Ferroviaria Spa. The Paris based group entered Italy via acquisitions as it inherited the high-tech tradition of some historical names of industrial Italy, such as Ercole Marelli, Fiat Ferroviaria and Passoni & Villa. Alstom has 13 production plants in the country and employs some 3,400 people. It plans to open by year 2015 a new facilities in Sesto San Giovanni, a Milan suburb, which is to become the global competence center for the Grid sector with the mission of doing research, develop and produce bushing current transformers for AD and DC voltage, gas insulated substations and high voltage generators. The new Alstom technology center of Sesto San Giovanni will be among the most important in the country and will employ one thousand people.