In this torrid August, and in full political crisis that will lead us to the vote of 25 September (here we talked about the new Terzo Polo Renzi-Calenda, here about the program of the center-right and here about that of the 5 Star Movement), on the labor front they arrive instead of the good news. The first is that the unemployment rate in Italy has never been lower since 1977. Since Istat began to collect labor statistics, there has never been such a high number of workers.
In one year there were 400,000 more workers, with an increase in employees and a decline in self-employed and precarious workers. In June, the employment rate reached 60.1%. In the Eurozone, the unemployment rate is at an all-time low.
The second good news is that the government, in the Aid bis decree, has introduced important ones news regarding parental leavematernity and paternity, and not only for employees, but also for self-employed and professionals (all the news can be found here).
Another important novelty concerns two historic brands operating in our country, and the fate of their workers. The first is located in northern Italy, in Piedmont: it is about Conbipela historic clothing chain from Asti, the subject of a major relaunch operation also thanks to the work of the Ministry of Economic Development.
Conbipel is reborn
Conbipel was born in 1958 in Cocconato d’Asti: from a small artisan business it soon became a leading company in the packaging of high quality leather garments, thanks also to the famous TV commercials in the 80s and 90s. Over the years, production has also expanded beyond the leather goods sector thanks to the introduction of textile processing and the opening of 180 stores throughout Italy.
One of the big news is that some also contain spaces for fashion shows, and Conbipel revolutionizes fashion by launching the format of stores for men only.
In the 2000s, however, as for the entire textile supply chain due to Asian competition, things went badly. In 2007 the brand was sold to one of the most important American investment funds, Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angelesfor 200 million euros.
After years of failed relaunch attempts, Conbipel changes ownership again in 2019, when 62% of Oaktree Capital Management is acquired by Brookfield Asset ManagementCanadian fund based in Toronto, for 4.7 billion dollars: this is how one of the world’s largest alternative investment funds was born.
The new owner announces its intention to relaunch the Conbipel brand with a five-year plan, but in 2020 he submitted to the court of Asti an application for a blank agreement. The court appoints a judicial commissioner to find new investors.
After the black smoke of the Turkish company Cagla Tekstil which seemed interested in the brand, Conbipel, which in Piedmont alone it has 433 employees and is placed under extraordinary administration.
The MISE operation to save Conbipel
Today, finally, thanks to the MISE, the company is saved and relaunched. The operation it will make it possible to safeguard 1,200 jobs through the operation of all the current 167 points of sale throughout the country. The operation was made possible precisely because the intervention aims to preserve the continuity of jobs in a company founded in 1958 and recognized by the Ministry as a brand of historical interest in the textile sector.
The company, in extraordinary administration since January 2021, thus closes a long path that will lead it to become a Newco funded with a total of 7.8 million euros, of which 3.8 million from the Salva Imprese del Mise Fund, managed by Invitalia, and 4 million from Eapparels Ltdpart of a group of companies headed by Grow Capital Global Holdings.
The participation of the Fund in the investment will therefore take place with a minority stake of 49% in support of the private partner, explains the MISE.
“With this investment in Conbipel, important foundations are laid for the relaunch of another historic brand in the Italian clothing sector which, in addition to being able to count on a well-established network of shops throughout the country and specialized skills among workers, will be able to find new opportunities to enhance production also on foreign markets ”, commented Minister Giorgetti. “The tools available to the Mise make it possible to identify the most suitable solutions for companies that are facing temporary financial difficulties”.
The relaunch of Bosch Italia
The other giant that will experience a revival in Italy is the German Bosch. The process for signing the agreement that commits Bosch to guaranteeing the agreement ended on 5 August at the MISE production continuity of the Bari plant for the entire duration of the industrial plan, at least until 2027.
Robert Bosch GmbH is a German multinational company, the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive components. 92% owned by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, a charity, most of the profits are reinvested in research and development or donated to humanitarian causes.
In 2018, the company had 85 offices in Germany with 139,400 employees: with approx 460 subsidiary companies in 60 countries around the world has 409,900 employees. In 2018, it had a turnover of 78.5 billion euros, the highest figure ever reached.
In Italy, the Bosch Group is present with the Milan branch, Robert Bosch SpA, 18 subsidiaries, 17 production plants, including the one in Bari, and 3 research and development centers and employs around 6,000 people.. The presence of the German multinational in Italy dates back to 1908 when the first historical branch was founded, but the real expansion in the Italian market began in the 1970s when the first factories were created.
In 1972, the German company also acquired control of Philco Italia, which was then sold a few years later. In 2008 he also bought the Freud brand (Frese Udinesi) from the entrepreneur Giampaolo Pozzo. Bosch for many years is one of the main component suppliers for the FCA group.
MISE’s intervention for Bosch
In this phase, thanks to the extraordinary intervention of the MISE, they will be carried out investments of 31 million euros, intended to encourage the development of new productions compared to the transformation underway in the automotive sector and which will allow safeguard the employment of all 700 workers.
A “good solution that gives a concrete prospect of relaunching the Bari site, where there are innovative ideas and projects to be implemented and the skills of the workers to be protected”, explained Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, who has repeatedly stressed the need to cope the social impacts of the transition to electricity in the automotive sector.
The Mise Business Crisis Structure, in synergy with the Ministry of Labor and local institutions, will monitor the implementation of the agreement by making available all the tools for industrial reconversion and relaunch, and for the protection of workers.