Family Business Survey 2012: Italy

Family Business Survey

PwC Family Business Survey 2012

What did 1,952 family business owners and managers in over 30 countries tell us was critical to owning and operating a successful family business?

Scaling up

Scaling up

The next frontier for more and more family businesses is overseas: 67% of respondents had some level of international sales in 2012. By 2017, that number will jump to 74%.



Family businesses face a significant challenge in finding the skilled outside talent they need to grow: 64% of them are planning to bring in non-family management in 2012.



While four in ten respondents will pass on both ownership and management to the next generation, fully 25% intend to pass on their shares but bring in professional managers, citing the next generation’s lack of skills.


Download the Survey

Read our report on what family businesses in 2012 are thinking and planning as they look to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.


Build your growth, or escape it

Yet company re-organisation tops the key internal issues to achieve growth in the next 12 months, but perceived relevance of product and business development is increasing and closing the gap at the top. Management of raw material issues tripled their importance in the short term future, as well as the way to ensure availability of finance. Technology relevance also doubled from 2010 FBS, and innovation clearly represents the top priority for longer term competitiveness. As well, attracting talents and retaining key staff are crucial challenges to face to enable family businesses’ sustainable growth.


Pioneering global markets

Already higher than the global average (43% of Italian family firms’ business is abroad), international sales are predicted to further rise to 53% for Italian family businesses. Target geographies include BRIC markets as well as growing mature ones. Several external challenges obstacle growth path (forex and Euro uncertainty, fiscal tax regimes, variance in jurisdictions to comply with and problems in foreign markets, etc.), but cultural issues (i.e. understanding different ways of doing business, and local customers) tops the ranking of difficulties to be managed to execute internationalisation.


Italian Family Businesses: different, often better than non-family ones...

Quicker in decision-making, warmer in working climate, longer-term minded, more passionate and able to sustain the entrepreneurial spirits: these are few among the positives of Italian family firms. Discover the way to ensure these features, and to defend them from growth and increasing complexity.


...but Italian Family Businesses aren’t immune from downsides too

Italian family businesses are and will continue to struggle for success, as well as for succession. Talent appeal and skill retention are critical in any case, but attracting members of next generation and the golden rule of right people in the right place can be by far more difficult at family businesses. And delegation to professional management might become a mess. Innovation is a growth-enabler, but change isn’t always welcome. Discover how 83% of Italian family firms and several global ones work around these controversial issues.


Governing Family and Business

What is the role of Italian families in their businesses? Do family members work for the companies they own? In case of arising conflict among family members, would they be prepared? What about passing ownership and/or management to the next generation and/or to professional management? Discover the attitude of Italian families, and compare with the global sample of our 2012 Family Business Survey.



Third Generation family business


Market uncertainty. The current economic crisis penalises investment.

Owner, Tecnogomma Srl


More motivation. We love our company, and we care about its future. Personal achievements.

CEO, La Doria SPA


The generational passage is a delicate mechanism. There is the risk of choosing those heirs who sometimes have not got the right skills.

Finance Director, Inticom SPA


The only advantage I see in this kind of business is the capacity to react quickly to whatever shock, be it positive or negative. This implies the ability to structure, to face a corporate governance. These businesses have got many ideas and are virtuous, they have the ability to evolve, innovate and compete.

Alberto Carcano
Assurance Partner
Tel: +39 030 3697509
Federico Mussi
Deals Partner, Middle Market Leader
Tel: +39 0521 275904
Tel: +39 051 6186255
Marco Meulepas
Tax Partner
Tel: +39 02 91605501
Giorgio Elefante
Advisory Associate Partner
Tel: +39 02 80646325
  • Print-friendly version