In the first three months of 2013, 94 new network contracts were signed. The number of enterprise networks in Italy climbed to 792, for a total of 4,091 enterprises involved, with peaks in Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany

• In the manufacturing sector, the increase in turnover achieved by networked enterprises was more than twice that reported by non-networked enterprises. Through the networks, small enterprises find opportunities that would not be available to them on their own. Of the enterprises followed by Intesa Sanpaolo, approximately one out of two expects positive income results

• Through Mediocredito Italiano, Intesa Sanpaolo has approved over 22 million euro in EIB subsidised loans for SMEs that have joined the networks

Milan, 5 June 2013 – The third Intesa Sanpaolo – Mediocredito Italiano Network Contracts Observatory confirms that network contracts are an attractive opportunity for Italian enterprises. During the first three months of the year, 455 enterprises used this tool, giving rise to 94 new networks, i.e., forms of collaboration that allow resources and abilities to be pooled with the aim of achieving greater competitive, productive and commercial strength. The figure brought the total number of contracts registered to 792 at the end of March 2013, with 4,091 participating enterprises. Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany lead the rankings of the most active regions. In particular, the first two are responsible for the sharp uptrend in the fourth quarter of 2012, when 801 new enterprises decided to join networks.

The Observatory emphasises the results reported by the manufacturing sector in 2011: enterprises participating in network contracts showed an increase in turnover of 10.1% compared to 4.6% for their non-networked counterparts and the gap widens even further if one considers the three-year period 2009-2011. On the other hand, the enterprises that decide to set up a network are already characterised by stronger competitive position at the outset: in one case out of two they are already part of an economic group (compared to approximately 35% of non-networked enterprises), engage in exports (approximately 50% vs. 31%), hold quality certifications (26.7% vs. 17.2%), have international investees (17.8% vs. 7.5%), hold internationally registered trademarks (16.4% vs. 8.5%), have submitted patent applications to the EPO (16.3% vs. 7.3%) and have been granted environmental certifications (8.2% vs. 3.4%).
In order to achieve a clearer focus on the consequences of the phenomenon, the Observatory presents the results of a survey conducted on 360 corporate customers participating in network contracts, showing that one out of two enterprises expects positive income results. Approximately 50% of the enterprises interviewed also declare that they are participating in networks in order to achieve greater production synergies (especially in the South and Centre), reinforce their promotion and distribution channels (North) and carry out joint innovation and research projects (Centre and North-East).

More generally, the Intesa Sanpaolo-Mediocredito Italiano study shows that networks allow the ways in which enterprises complement one another at an industrial level to be fully exploited. 83% of networks consist of enterprises specialised in different production segments. In addition, 31% are small or even micro enterprises (51.2%), precisely the companies that have the greatest need to increase their ability to innovate, sell, export, and create brands and that would not succeed in it by drawing on their own resources alone. Industry, narrowly construed, and services are the two best represented macro-sectors, accounting for 76.1% of networked enterprises. There is also a significant presence of the construction and real-estate sectors and of the agricultural and food industry, especially in Southern Italy, led by Sardinia.

In order to take off, Enterprise Networks need training and specific financing. In late 2012 and early 2013 three Regional Enterprise Network Laboratories (Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia Romagna) were created, serving as full-fledged “incubators” launched by Intesa Sanpaolo with local employers’ associations and research institutions in order to promote awareness of this tool and facilitate the meeting of potential partners. This was in addition to the National Network Desk for legal and financial advice offered by Mediocredito Italiano, the Intesa Sanpaolo company specialised in supporting the growth of SMEs. In the financing arena, an important opportunity is provided by the funding that the European Investment Bank has made available so that SMEs and mid-cap enterprises may reach strategic goals relating to network contracts, for which Mediocredito Italiano has approved loans of over 22 million euro to date.



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