Redundancies and company closures may fill the business pages in the current climate but one of Italy's foremost business families has announced it is to oversee a huge European cross-border merger.
The Pesenti family's Italcementi Group, the world's fifth largest cement producer, has agreed to simplify the structure of the business by merging with French producer Ciments Francais in which it holds an 82% stake.
No figure has been put on the deal but Italcementi and Ciments Francais have revenues of €6 billion and €4.6 billion respectively. The deal is expected to free up some capital which the family has promised to use to help it through difficult trading conditions in the short term and pursue further growth and development targets in the medium-to-long term.
Italcementi was founded in 1864 by Cesar Pesenti in Bergamo. Third-generation Giampiero Pesenti (pictured), who began his career with the family business in 1958, was named chairman in 2004. His son, Carlo, is the current CEO.
Italmobiliare is the Pesenti's financial holding company which, in addition to the cement businesses, holds investments in various companies in the banking and media fields.