Italcementi, the Italian multinational which produces cement and other construction components, was first founded in 1864, only three years after the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. But the man who elevated the ranking of the group to the elite of Corporate Italy was Carlo Pesenti, born in 1907, who in 1934 takes the helm at Italcementi, which in the meantime was becoming a prosperous business also thanks to Carlo’s uncle, Antonio, Senator of the Kingdom and a personal friend to Benito Mussolini. That’s to say that Italcementi is a company which has a long history, and whose journey was always strictly connected with the political and economic developments of the country. In fact the Pesenti dynasty, from the northern town of Bergamo, was at the same time always connected with the Italian family-model capitalism. And it is so in current times as well. The Pesentis’ interests range from banks to publishing, including key stakes held in the so-called Italy’s “salotto buono” – the fine drawing room – such as those in Mediobanca, Unicredit and Rcs, the publisher of leading newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Nowadays is Carlo Pesenti’s turn. The 49 year old entrepreneur who inherited the first name from the founder of the dynasty, has a main focus: that of getting rid of the crisis which hit the construction industry in Italy by adjusting the production capacity to a structurally weak market. Cement production in Italy continues to be in excess against a demand which has scaled down to levels seen in the late Sixties. In order to cope with the new reality Italcementi started a rationalization effort involving both the production and the distribution at a national level, and by avoiding at the same time to shrink its market share. Plans being implemented are aimed at maintaining 6 continuous cycle facilities in Italy, two in the North, one in the Centre and three in the South. In addition the company is planning important capital spending of some 150 million euros to further improve the competitiveness of the Rezzato plant near Brescia, which in the words of Carlo Pesenti will become “a veritable benchmark for the development of technologies used to abate pollution”.
At the same time Italcementi is ready to take benefit from a possible re-start of big infrastructural project in Italy, of which some encouraging signals are being detected by industry experts. Italcementi also owns a 83% stake in Ciments Français, but a much talked full merge is not seen as a priority for the time being, as the management of the Italian group is fully focused on the core business and the cost cutting. An effort that is already bearing fruit, as the company is showing some improvements, namely as its capital ratios are concerned.