MILAN — Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo Group has signed an agreement with the fashion and textile consortium SMI Sistema Moda Italia to create an alliance that aims to support the growth of the Italian textile and fashion businesses in foreign countries.
The agreement was signed on Thursday by Stefano Barrese, responsible for sales and marketing of the Territorial Bank Division of Intesa Sanpaolo, and Claudio Marenzi, president of SMI. It reinforces a previous three-year agreement and intends to encourage market penetration of Italian companies in foreign countries through tools and innovative channels.
Intesa Sanpaolo is providing 500 million euros, or about $559 million at current exchange, as a credit line for the development of international projects, expanding the export of Italian manufactured textile goods, as the opportunities in international markets remain high for “Made in Italy” products, particularly in countries with a higher income than the U.S.
“The export sector, amounting to about 28.5 billion euros (about $31 billion at average exchange) in 2014, is contributing to 54.7 percent of the turnover of the sector, and in the first quarter of 2015 continued to grow, albeit slowly, at 1 percent,” Marenzi said. “Thanks to the favorable exchange rate with the dollar, exports are estimated to increase at rates above 6 percent, proving once again the driver for growth in the sector.”
Part of the pact between SMI and Intesa Sanpaolo are consulting services of specialists on issues of financial and commercial transactions related to investment and development, divided into five geographic areas: the Americas, Asia and Oceania, China, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and Eastern Europe. Also part of the agreement are a platform for matching businesses to facilitate access to new digital markets and a training program that teaches sector skills on internationalization and foreign trade, known as “Trading Lab: Think International!”
“The agreement that we wanted to renew with Sistema Italia Moda is especially important for small and medium-sized enterprises struggling to acquire an international dimension,” Barrese said. “If exports are a strategic lever for growth, we need to accelerate the process of internationalization and help companies get into the most promising markets.”