CEO 's message, Marco Milani
Journalist: Could we say that in certain respects 2010 was a turning point for your company?
CEO: Yes, I think so. It was certainly a year of great satisfaction: our sales grew by over 10%, well over the rate of growth in market demand, so I'd say it was a very positive year.
J: Above all it was the year in which many economies really started emerging from the crisis. Is demand picking up now, maybe at different rates from country to country?
CEO: In Eastern Europe we've seen a strong recovery in demand, especially in markets like Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. It's been maybe a bit slower in Western Europe. On the whole though, the European market grew significantly in 2010.
J: Has your experience of weathering the crisis in world demand in some way changed your capacity to move on the market? Has it taught you anything?
CEO: It certainly made us take a look at our strategies. I'd say the most important result of the crisis was our decision to continue investing mainly in the European market, where we are strong and can draw most on synergy.
J: Strength and stability on the European market then, but also expanding eastwards. Where you gained considerable satisfaction.
CEO: Right. We also defended our positions of force in Western Europe. The UK continues to be the Company's main export market. But the real growth, the strongest recovery, was in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. In the latter, where we used to be less strong, we've reached a market share of 10%, which looks very good for the future.
J: In Eastern Europe you have a long history behind you in fact and you've been able to move factories where there was demand. Are you really beginning to see the fruits of those choices?
CEO: Indesit's industrial organization is now very well balanced: we maintain our longstanding and vital operations in Italy but they are balanced by our main foreign markets.
J: How was this year of change in terms of products?
CEO: It was a year in which Indesit strengthened its key positions. We maintained and strengthened our European leadership in fridges, washing machines and cookers. And we started to grow very significantly in the built-in segment, a strategy we intend to carry forward in the coming years
J: So there's still room to gain new leadership positions in terms of products as well?
CEO: That's exactly what we believe.
J: Getting back to the company itself, what about the 2010 balance sheet?
CEO: Profitability is very good in terms of both the Company's own performance – 2010 was a record year – and of our industry as a whole, in which Indesit has one of the highest levels of profitability. But perhaps even more important than this is our financial solidity: Indesit's financial debt at the close of 2010 was decidedly lower than its EBITDA, which puts the Company in a strong position and bodes well for the future.
J: What does that mean exactly in terms of arming yourselves to go to market?
CEO: That the priority for the coming years, which is growth, has a solid financial base.
J: And 2010 was a satisfying year for the shareholders too.
CEO: The dividend that will be approved at the next AGM should make all our investors happy.
Marco Milani comments 2010 financial year, a very successful year for the Group, and illustrates the technological innovation as the prominent growth factor for the future of Indesit.