Italian medium-sized companies: since 1996 they are better than GDP (+ 34%) and create great value especially during crises.
Revenues will move in 2021 (+ 19%) and growth prospects also for 2022 (+ 6.3%). More than 60% of medium-sized companies plan to invest in 4.0 in green technologies over the next three years; 52% who have already done so expect to exceed pre-covid production levels by this year.
No subordination to foreign colleagues, who are less productive, so much so that in 10 years some 210 medium-sized national companies have come into foreign hands.
This is the identity of Italian medium-sized industrial companies focuses on the XXI report dedicated to them by Unioncamere, Mediobanca Study Area and Tagliacarne Study Center.
This universe of 3,174 change leaders is also ready to take advantage of the growth potential of PNRR: 59% of medium-sized companies have already activated or are ready to do so.
Looking to the future, however, the generational relay risks slowing down its progress: for 1 in 4 companies, the transition is either incomplete or a real obstacle.
A success story, especially in turbulent times
Italian medium-sized manufacturing companies are facing the uncertainties of the economic situation due to a history that has seen them do better than the rest of the economy in the turbulent moments.
According to a performance indicator, since 1996, they have accumulated a 34.1% advantage over GDP, most of which have developed since 2009. Compared to the large Italian manufacturing companies, in the same period, the averages recorded better performances under many points of view. : they have one
Sales growth more than doubled (+ 108.8% vs + 64.4%), centered on a greater increase in productivity (+ 53% vs + 38.6%) and guaranteed better remuneration for work (+ 62.4% % vs + 57%). These are successes achieved with a significant expansion of the employment base (+ 39.8% vs -12.5%), which has made it an inclusive and participatory capitalist model. So much so that medium-sized companies can establish themselves internationally: their productivity is in fact 21.5% higher than that of their German and French counterparts, an exceptional result when one considers that our manufacturing industry as a whole instead of a delay of 17.9 % compared to the same countries.
It is no coincidence that they drew the attention of foreigners: today we would have had 210 more if they had not passed under the control of foreign shareholders in the last decade, a quarter of whom are German and French.
The multiple positive profiles of medium-sized companies must not shy away from the important challenges that remain on the ground. The need to comply with ESG requirements brings the focus back to governance. Some good practices are still limited in circulation: the code of self-discipline is adopted by 35.3%, the presence of independent directors on the board of directors is limited to 24.8%. The existence of a CEO outside the family occurs in 16.8% of cases and is associated with more advanced education (graduate or post-graduate in 71.2% of cases vs. 49.7% for the family CEO) in a more contained age (55.6 years vs. 59.9)). In addition, under the pressure of the turbulence of the last two years, medium-sized enterprises are given high priority for the introduction of new management skills (46.2%) and consider it necessary
to accelerate generational change (33%). The intention to make acquisitions appears in 34.4% of entrepreneurs’ agendas. Instrumental to this last goal, but also to the previous ones, appears the option to open the capital for new financial or industrial partners (15.8%), up to the point of the hypothesis of the full sale of the company (7.3 %).