Medium-sized Italian companies: since 1996 they have performed better than GDP (+ 34%) and create more value, especially during crises.
Revenue rises in 2021 (+ 19%) and growth prospects also for 2022 (+ 6.3%). More than 60% of medium-sized companies plan to invest in 4.0 and green technologies in the next three years; 52% who have already done so expect to exceed pre-Covid production levels this year.
There is no inferiority compared to foreign counterparts who are effectively less productive, so much so that in 10 years some 210 average domestic companies have passed into foreign hands.
This is the identikit of medium-sized Italian industrial companies focused on the XXI Report dedicated to them by Unioncamere, the Mediobanca Studies Area and the Tagliacarne Study Center.
This universe of 3,174 change leaders is also ready to take advantage of the growth opportunities arising from the PNRR: 59% of medium-sized companies have already been activated or are preparing to do so.
Looking to the future, however, generational change runs the risk of slowing down their progress: for 1 in 4 companies, the transition has either not been completed or is a real obstacle.
A success story, especially in turbulent times
Medium-sized Italian manufacturing companies face the uncertainties of the economic situation due to a history that has seen them perform better than the rest of the economy in the most turbulent times.
According to a performance indicator, since 1996 they have accumulated an advantage of 34.1% over GDP, most of which developed since 2009. Compared to the large Italian manufacturing companies, in the same period, the averages went record better behaviors from many points of view. : they got one
more than double turnover growth (+ 108.8% vs + 64.4%), focused on a greater increase in productivity (+ 53% vs + 38.6%) and a better remuneration for guaranteed 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. To the point of allowing medium-sized companies to establish themselves internationally: their productivity is in fact 21.5% higher than that of their German and French counterparts, an extraordinary result if we take into account that our manufacturing industry in the on the other hand, it lags behind by 17.9% compared to the countries themselves.
It is no coincidence that they have attracted the attention of foreigners: today we would have about 210 more if they had not passed during the last decade under the control of foreign shareholders, a quarter of whom are German and French.
Challenges for the future
The multiple positive profiles of medium-sized companies should not elude the important challenges that remain on the ground. The need to align with ESG requirements returns the focus 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 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 training (undergraduate or graduate in 71.2% of cases vs. 49.7% for the CEO of the family) and a more restrained age (55.6 years vs. 59.9). ). In addition, under the pressure of the turbulence of the last two years, medium-sized companies give high priority to the introduction of new management skills (46.2%) and consider it necessary
to accelerate the generational handover (33%). The intention to make acquisitions appears in 34.4% of the agendas of the entrepreneurs. Instrumental to this last objective, but also to the previous ones, appears the option to open the capital to new financial or industrial shareholders (15.8%), until the hypothesis of total sale of the company (7.3%) .