Most companies in Italy are family-owned (according to ISTAT data, about 80% of Italian businesses fall under this category), but it would be naive to think that it is a purely Italian phenomenon.

The latest edition of the AUB Observatory has indeed highlighted how, in terms of the prevalence of family businesses, our nation is in line with the main European economies such as France (80%), Germany (90%), Spain (83%) and the UK (80%), as well as globally.

According to a report by the Economist dedicated entirely to family businesses, it is clear that these companies represent more than 90% of all those active worldwide.

The added value of family business

Returning to the analysis of the AUB Observatory, in summary it can be said that family-led companies are the primary job creators:

  • +20.1% in the last six years
  • +14.4% of cooperatives and consortia
  • +5.7% of foreign-owned subsidiaries
  • +1.4% of coalitions
  • -8.7% of companies controlled by funds
  • -12.3% of companies and state bodies

Furthermore, they grow more than other types of companies (+47.2% in the last ten years, compared to the average of 37.8% for other companies); they record higher profitability (ROI of 9.1% in 2016 compared to 7.9% for other corporate forms); and they have a lower debt ratio.

In short, Italian family businesses with a turnover exceeding 20 million euros represent 65% of all national companies, consolidating a total turnover of over 730 billion euros and employing about 2.4 million workers.

If we also consider companies with a turnover of less than 20 million euros, it is estimated that the percentage is closer to 85%.

If the above numbers suggest that family management of a company is “a successful norm”, there are other statistics that make Italy stand out as an anomaly in this regard. Compared to other European family businesses, Italian companies rely less on external managers:

In fact, 66% of them have all management composed of family members, whereas in France, this situation is found in 26% of family businesses, and in the UK, only in 10%.

This trend poses several challenges for Italian companies, particularly in managing generational handovers and ensuring continuity for the business.

According to ISTAT data, in fact, only a minority of companies manage to survive this crucial phase.

The reasons are varied:

  • Lack of preparation among the new generations (the founders often possess a vast amount of knowledge, skills, and relationships that they struggle to pass on to the next generation)
  • Absence of a well-defined succession plan
  • Family conflicts that may arise during the succession process
  • Resistance to change from the older generation, who may be reluctant to hand over the reins, adopt new technologies, or innovate business processes.

The excellence of “Made in Italy”

Although the above analysis may seem quite alarming, there are certainly many solutions available to overcome the inevitable challenges of succession within a company.

It is no coincidence, in fact, that Italy boasts 5 of the ten oldest companies in the world, still family owned and run (Fonderie Pontificie Marinelli, founded in 1000; Barone Ricasoli - 1141; Barovier & Toso - 1295; Torrini - 1369; Marchesi Antinori - 1385).

Managing generational change requires a strategic approach, sincere commitment and conscious leadership, characteristics that are not lacking in Mozzanica, which has always defined itself as a "100% Italian pocket-sized multinational", unique in the fire protection sector.

What is a pocket-sized multinational and where does it come from?

Way back in 1987, Natale Mozzanica breathed life into a dream that came from a history of setbacks – not his own but of the company he worked for.

Driven by necessity, he embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that led him to found the company we now know as Mozzanica.

The story of Mozzanica is a tale of resilience, ambition and dedication to quality, woven through the years with the common thread of safety and excellence.

From the outset, Mozzanica chose to operate in sectors considered high risk, but also high potential.

The specialization in fire protection services, maintenance and system design has garnered attention for their expertise and reliability.

Today, nearly four decades after its founding, Mozzanica is a well-established company operating in diverse sectors, from industrial to marine, from Oil & Gas to chemical and pharmaceutical.

Its international presence bears testament to its success, yet it still maintains a strong bond with its family roots.

Mozzanica sets itself apart from other market players for its agility. Despite its size, it moves swiftly and accurately, providing immediate answers to customers and ensuring timely deliveries.

In addition, the Made in Italy brand is a strength for the company, recognized worldwide for its quality and ingenuity.

Mozzanica's ability to tackle challenges with creativity and flexibility is what makes it stand out in the Italian industrial landscape.

Looking ahead, Mozzanica continues to invest in plant construction, the development of integrated systems and the improvement of customer service.

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