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Italian State-Owned Enterprises After Decades of Reforms: Still Public?

Stefano Clo (), Marco Di Giulio, Maria Tullia Galanti and Maddalena Sorrentino ()
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Marco Di Giulio: University of Bologna, Forlì Campus, Italy
Maria Tullia Galanti: University of Milan, Italy

No 1519, CIRIEC Working Papers from CIRIEC - Université de Liège

Abstract: The present paper analyzes the top ten Italian state-owned enterprises (SOEs) over the period 2004-2013, after both their corporate organization and their markets have been deeply reformed. We question whether SOEs’ strategies are more profit or public oriented. The authors find that, on average, the management and performance of the Italian SOEs has improved and it holds the comparison with private and public European industry peers. Still, remarkable divergences persist among Italian in terms of performance and orientation towards markets or public values, largely depending on the intensity of the reforms they went through. Listed SOEs operating in liberalized markets are largely profitable and distribute dividends. They have expanded their business internationally, though crossborder M&As. As a result, a high share of their revenues and employees originates out of Italy. Conversely, unlisted SOEs operating in non-competitive markets are still somehow compelled to maintain an informal public mission; they provide universal services, they often incur in economic losses, which are partly covered by taxpayers. Il presente articolo analizza le 10 principali imprese pubbliche italiane nel periodo 2004-2013, a seguito delle riforme di liberalizzazione dei mercati e di riorganizzazione aziendale. Gli autori trovano che, in media, la gestione e la performance delle imprese pubbliche italiane è migliorata e risulta ampiamente comparabile ai principali competitor pubblici e privati europei. Tuttavia, importanti differenze di performance e orientamento al mercato persistono tra le imprese pubbliche e sono riconducibili alla diversa intensità delle riforme a cui sono state sottoposte. Imprese pubbliche quotate operanti in mercati liberalizzati risultano profittevoli, distribuiscono dividendi, si sono internazionalizzate, anche attraverso acquisizioni transfrontaliere. Un’alta percentuale dei loro ricavi e addetti è originata al di fuori dei confini italiani. Al contrario, imprese pubbliche non quotate che operano in mercati non concorrenziali sono ancora legate ad una missione pubblica, la fornitura di un servizio universale spiega le loro perdite economiche che sono ancora, almeno parzialmente, coperte dai contribuenti.

Keywords: state-owned enterprises; public mission; state capitalism; privatization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L2 L33 L8 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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