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Lombardy enterprise rises above Italy's economic crisis

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By Euronews
Lombardy enterprise rises above Italy's economic crisis

<p>Lombardy in the north of Italy is an area known worldwide for the production of women’s socks. This industrial district is the world leader for production and export.</p> <p>Its history dates back decades and its major boost happened in the ’60s and ’70s.</p> <p>Today there are about 250 companies based in this industrial district, but the recent economic crisis has hit hard.</p> <p>“The worst moment for us, for this industrial district, was in 2011-2012 when we had the climax of the difficulties due to the Italian, European and the world crisis, said Massimo Bensi, <span class="caps">CEO</span>, Calze BC. </p> <p>Difficulties the district has, for the most part, overcome thanks to its strength, pizzazz and technical values.</p> <p>Not everyone did well, though.</p> <p>Many companies were forced to close while others relocated production to Eastern Europe, particularly to Serbia where costs are lower.</p> <p>Italian companies still blame a sluggish recovery on bureaucracy, the credit crunch and European laws.</p> <p>“We have obstacles, rules and you do not know how to respect them,” said Massimo Bensi. </p> <p>“Sometimes respecting rules you do not need is tough, so instead you just have to focus on production, on selling, on making a turnover and collecting a profit.”</p> <p>In the last year and a half, investments are up. It is a sign of a renewed dynamism that will open the door to a new chapter in the history of this district.</p> <p>One of the largest steel processing companies in Italy, and the world, is Marcegaglia. Its founder Steno Marcegaglia built it from scratch in 1959.</p> <p>“I’m doing a job started by my mother my father and my uncles; everybody kept telling me: you’ve got your company in your blood. At school, teachers kept saying; he thinks too much about his socks. I hope the new generation, my children, will be able to carry forward with strong, original ideas. If they believe in the project, it will take off.”</p> <p>Like other companies operating in international markets, characterized by a dynamic capitalism, Marcegaglia managed to brush off the crisis, growing stronger.</p> <p>“We made huge investments just before and during the crisis,” said Am Antonio Marcegaglia, Amministratore Delegato Marcegaglia</p> <p>“We grew because of this, even though that growth was more modest compared with previous years. It was slightly higher than the general growth.”</p> <p>Italy remains the second European industrial power —seventh worldwide — and figures suggest economic recovery is on its way, even though bank credit is still very depressed.</p> <p>Antonio Marcegaglia is positive, though:</p> <p>“Dad began in 1959, from zero, he came from a very poor family. Certainly, at that time the context of an Italian and European recovery helped the growth and the building of this empire.<br /> Today it would be more difficult but I think the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur — imagination, innovation and ability to calculate risks — are valid all the time.”</p>