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Construction, rising turnover for Italian firms abroad

There is one market that, even in times of spreading crisis and unemployment, is showing growth, with benefits not only for the Italian economy but also for Italy’s image in the world: the Italian foreign construction market. The announcement came with the 2013 ANCE (National Building Construction Association) Report on construction around the world, presented today at the foreign ministry in Rome in the presence of, among others, Deputy Minister Marta Dassù and Ministry Secretary General Michele Valensise.

Foreign turnover tripled over last 8 years

According to the report, foreign turnover in 2012 by Italian firms was up 11.4% in the same year in which the domestic market registered a 4.2% loss, marking the construction industry’s lowest point, a differential between domestic and foreign market trends that has been widening for some time now. Over the past 8 years turnover abroad has tripled, and is up approximately 200%, with a leap from 2.995 to 8.7 billion, with annual growth at 14.5%. It should be added that, as a result of a growing number of foreign companies, since 2009 these have accounted for over 50% of total turnover, bearing witness to the increasing importance of business done beyond Italian borders. The sector also represents one of the pillars of the economic diplomacy put into place by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Valensise, economic diplomacy a top priority

“I am convinced that the economic dimension of diplomacy is an absolute priority”, especially “at such a difficult moment for our country”, Secretary General Valensise remarked, according to whom construction is a sector “of great dynamism showing very promising trends in turnover” and is a “symbol of Made in Italy”. In that regard “it is our task to support this very important economic sector as much as possible when it ventures abroad”, and “to seek new forms of collaboration”, added the S-G, whose words echoed those of ANCE President Paolo Buzzetti, according to whom the report’s data represented “incredible results, not least in light of how bad things are in Italy, and are helping us to maintain those domestic firms that would not otherwise have survived”.

ANCE: Italian firms present in 88 countries, 12 billion in new commissions

The collaborative relationship between ANCE and the foreign ministry has made it possible to reach 25 countries with successful entrepreneurial missions, and the goals for 2014 are even more ambitious: the ASEAN countries, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, North America and Central Asia will be the target markets over the coming months. While the report points out that Italian firms were active in 88 countries in 2012. The portfolio of our companies’ new commissions (for a total of 12 billion) in the world remains full in extra-EU Europe (26%), followed by the Middle East (15.6%), South America (15.4%), the EU (12%), Sub-Saharan Africa (10.2%) and North America (10%). And there are nine entirely new countries to add to the list: Ireland, Cyprus, Thailand, Canada and the new frontiers of Cameroon, Zambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Malawi.And all this, the report reads, despite the growing difficulties that emerged in 2012: the credit crunch that is so heavily impacting on medium sized enterprises and leading to political and economic instability in regions that are the natural market outlets for our SMEs, such as those of the Mediterranean.

From motorways to hospitals, growth in commissions essential

The final result, in any case, remains positive and growth in commissions essential: motorways, hospitals, energy plants and aqueducts, where Italian firms have created solid partnerships with major international sector players and the most important world financial institutions (investment funds and banks). Talk is of 63 billion euro in contracts in the context of international groupings, of which 11.5 billion to Italian firms.