Rome

Trussardi wants govt shield against foreign raiders

Italian businesses 'don't feel protected'

Trussardi wants govt shield against foreign raiders

(By Emily Backus) Rome, August 27 - Tomaso Trussardi, one of the heirs to the luxury leather and fashion goods group Trussardi, told the newspaper La Repubblica that companies in his sector need more government protection in an interview published on Tuesday. "We, who are an Italian business from Italy, do not feel protected. We must always fight, even in a sector that is among the most important for the country," said Trussardi, who has run Trussardi with his sisters Beatrice and Gaia, since the death of his father Nicola and brother Francesco. Tomaso Trussardi expressed dissatisfaction with the government's tutelage of "training, credit access, and especially the international network for supporting Italian companies beyond its borders". Trussardi's complaints come less than a month after Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told analysts that industrial conditions were "impossible" in Italy, sparking industry and regional leaders to rally to his defence. "Where is the government's industrial policy? How long do we have to wait to see something done? There is no more time," complained Piedmont Governor Roberto Cota, while Veneto Governor Luca Zaia accused Rome of "sleeping" while businesses fled to places where "taxes are fair and (regulatory) obligations are human". Trussardi's interview also follows a spate of foreign buyouts of historic Italian brands, including two in July - LVMH's takover of storied cashmere firm Loro Piana and Turkish Toksoz group's acquisition of Pernigotti chocolates. Luxury goods groups Pomellato, Bulgari, Brioni and Valentino and major consumer goods companies Parmalat, Findus Italy, Marazzi, Ducati and Bertolli have all been bought in the past five years, the Financial Times reported last week in an article about the unravelling of a powerful web of cross-holdings that once kept the reins of Italian capitalism in the hands of "salotto buono" or "fine drawing room" power brokers. The FT wrote that influential Italian companies are ceding stakes in each other under the extreme financial pressure wrought by Italy's longest postwar recession, undoing a cliquish corporate club built in the postwar period by Enrico Cuccia, the founder of Italy's most important merchant bank, Mediobanca. "Executives fear the loss of the network will also make Italian companies vulnerable," the FT wrote, citing Italian companies swooped in recent years. "Few expect any clear industrial policy from Rome. Generations of revolving-door governments have failed to produce one," the FT added, while Italy's four-month-old left-right government finds itself teetering, trying not to slip on ultimatums lobbed by the centre-right junior partners in the executive and the hard-line taken by leaders of Italy's left. Italian Economy Undersecretary Pier Paolo Baretta warned radio listeners on Tuesday that any issue of significance could become a 'banana peel' on which the divided government could slip and fall. Trussardi said that the world is still nevertheless attracted to Italian goods saying. "Creativity is our good fortune, one of Italy's few natural resources, which Trussardi has captured, and sought to fully elaborate," he said. Trussardi did not exclude an initial public offering in the future, but said there was no compelling reason to do so for the time being. "We won't exclude anything off-hand, but at the moment we don't have any difficulty financing ourselves and we are already structured as a listed company, given that we award our managers with incentives on the basis of shared goals and achieved results," Trussardi said.

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