“The food industry has long experienced medium to low growth rates and profitability, but we expect the food industry to undergo a major transformation in the coming years. Problems of scarcity related to environmental change, traceability of products, the imposition of ESG criteria, the evolution of consumer tastes and needs make it one of the most dynamic sectors of the future according to our analyzes ». Andrea Bonomi, heir to one of the most important Milanese entrepreneurial dynasties, founder and president of Investindustrial – an investment company with resources of 11 billion euros, specialized in acquiring, growing internationally and then selling the companies in which it invests – takes stock of the strategies of the group in the wake of the acquisition of two major US companies, Parker Food, specializing in high value-added specialty food ingredients and a division of the TreeHouse Foods group, a leader in the manufacture and distribution of private label food products for the retail and catering.
Why this acceleration of investments in the food sector?
«For strategic reasons and immediate opportunities. We have already invested in important groups such as La Doria, Csm Ingredients, Hi-Food, Italcanditi. The new US acquisitions are ideal on a strategic and sectoral level: La Doria’s business integrates perfectly with that of TreeHouse’s private label division, while that of CSM Ingredients with that of Parker Food, a leader in the ingredients sector. In this way, Investindustrial realizes a total turnover in food of approximately 3.5 billion and we will become one of the largest in the world for the private label sector. Food is a sector in which it is easy for companies to be medium in size, ideal for an investor with our characteristics, so we will continue our strategy of strengthening in the sector ».
Let’s talk about companies that belong to very different segments …
“We are a team of approximately 150 professionals based in Europe, North America and Asia and we have identified three segments of the food sector with particularly promising development prospects: that of ingredients, in which our subsidiary Csm Ingredients operates, with sales of approximately billion. , the private label, which is the huge universe of own brand products present in the major distribution chains around the world, an area led by La Doria, which reaches annual sales of one billion. And finally the production safety segment, which includes, for example, Guala Closures, a leader in locking systems ».
What is the development policy of the companies entering the Investindustrial perimeter?
«First of all, we must be clear that ours is never a purely financial investment, but always has an industrial and entrepreneurial logic. Central to our interest are the medium-sized or even small Italian companies that have recognized leadership in their segment, but that find it difficult to grow in international markets. We have the financial resources and more necessary for their growth. In this way we can make capital available for development to the companies in which we invest ».
Your intervention does not stop at this stage …
“Certainly not. Thanks to our global network, we are able to identify the most suitable international partners for individual companies that now have the necessary resources for acquisitions. But the industrial logic on which we operate also leads us to identify the product and market areas of the companies we are present in. To set an example in the automotive sector, when part of our portfolio, Ducati and Aston Martin launched radically innovative models that allowed them to expand their reference market and increase their sales ».
We talked about nutrition, but you operate in many different sectors.
“We are present in industry, in healthcare, in high-tech, in design. But always with the logic of merging the sector and creating an Italian champion capable of growing and establishing itself in the world markets ».
What are the benefits of this diversification?
“Financially they are remarkable. Our insurers expect an average annual return of 20% on their investment. The fact that we are present in diversified business areas and in non-homogeneous stages of maturity has allowed us to regularly meet the target in recent years ».
In your long career, what idea has developed some of the strengths of the Italian economy?
«Italian products are loved in the world because they like the image of Italy and because they are of the highest quality. A key to the success of the tricolor industry is its ability to introduce a strong Italian identity into the products aimed at a global audience that knows their value. Moreover, over the years, companies, in Italy and abroad, have gradually separated themselves from the national context in which they operate and this is one of the positive aspects of globalization. The winner is the one that is less dependent on the internal events in the country of origin and is focused on a global consumer community. Investindustrial is focused on helping Italian companies transform themselves into global leaders ».
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