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BUSINESSES/1: 2014, BOOM OF FOREIGN SHOPPERS IN ITALY

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A global market that welcomes foreign investment because it has the strength to invest abroad: it is the ideal and balanced world of those who believe that entrepreneurial freedom is convenient, within the macro landscape, for a country the size of Italy.

The problem is that the imbalance between inflows and outflows is starting to become serious, as pointed out by various classified documents written by government offices and viewed by WikiLao. In other words, while the country is being stripped bare, there aren't any international campaigns that are trying to even out the balance of payment. Not by far.

One of the documents shows how foreign shopping boomed in 2014. Twenty-seven important businesses aren't Italian anymore. The 2008 record, when twenty-four important Italian brands moved abroad, was broken. Among other things, the data from last year doesn't consider a dozen important operations that have already been initiated, whose negotiations are already in the final phases, although not completed.

In numerous other cases, foreign companies have penetrated the joint stock of Italian businesses by purchasing minority stakes. These kinds of shareholding are increasing, also through operations that are carried out directly on the financial markets.

Since 2005 foreigners bought largely in traditional companies (thirty-six businesses) and in typical "made in Italy" sectors such as fashion (twenty-seven) or food and agriculture (twenty, as for finance). Twelve energy companies and another dozen telecommunication businesses were also acquired.

In the last ten years, thirty American acquisitions have taken place, almost half of which in heavy industry. Twenty-five acquisitions were French, with a noticeable increase since 2011 (seven French acquisitions occurred in the financial sector).

Twenty companies are now controlled by the British, twelve are now Chinese and ten are German. The Spanish (almost exclusively in the food sector) and the Russians (who are mostly interested in oil and gas) also came to Italy to shop. Turks, Brazilians, Swiss and Algerians (with Cevital, who now holds Piombino's iron and steel hub) also contributed.

Undoubtedly, especially in this phase, foreign acquisitions are saving thousands of jobs, but the Italian productive fabric and its global relevance are being weakened.

(Photo: ANSA/Franco Silvi)

December 14, 2014