Industria Felix Magazine - 20 January 2020
The Italian market is growing slowly
Even innovative SMEs (specific category of enterprises, registered with the proper section of the Companies’ Register) are small businesses with a long average life (8 years), which is in contrast with the expected life cycle of these enterprises, as they should be characterized by a high and fast growth, especially if based on industrial innovation, products, services, or processes.
In Italy, enterprises are still strongly based on a family ownership and management. In fact, according to the data of 2019 Cerved Report on SMEs, there are 100,000 SMEs (out of total 150,000) in which the family controls the business, in many cases even without any shareholders (74.5%) or any Board of Directors outside the family (86.4%). The result is a lack of discussions (which is more and more needed) concerning the strategic decisions on business development (mainly if based on integration and/or internationalization processes) and innovation, which is normal when ownership and management are separated.
Figures are not encouraging, according to the above Report. In fact, it confirms that the already slow growth of SMEs has further slowed down, turnover increased by 4.1% in nominal terms (compared to 4.4% in 2017) but remained substantially at 2017levels in real terms. A similar situation can be seen in added value, which showed a growing trend (+4.1%), but unfortunately not enough compared to the increase in labour increased (+5.6%), which results in a negative effect on productivity and on margins of SMEs.
The situation is not better even with regard to profitability; on the contrary, it has decreased for the first time since 2013, from 11.7% in 2017 to 11% in 2018.