Conversation with Alessandro Pietta, entrepreneur in the glass sector. What is behind a successful business story? From the birth of his company to the sale to a multinational. And ideas for the future …
From Italy to Romania, round trip. It is possible to return to investing in the boot after a long experience abroad. Provided that there are certain assumptions, creativity and intuition in the first place. But you can. Indeed, perhaps it must, he explains to Ants.net Alessandro Pietta, successful businessman in glass.
Those were other years but we can include you in the “flight of talents” from Italy …
I don’t know if I can be included in this category but one thing is certain, I was young, it was 2000 and I did not hesitate to respond positively to the call from Romania to lead, as Sole Administrator, the largest silica quarry in the country in the path of privatization (it was included in 2% of the successful privatizations of Romania). A company with 370 employees that I have managed for 5 years.
When did you decide to create something of your own?
Thanks to this experience, in 2002 I started working with glass. At that time Romania had state-owned enterprises that produced glass and which were customers of the same quarry that I ran. I decided to buy it from them and then export it to the field of household appliances.
And is this how your company was born?
Yes, the Pietta Glass Working. At 25 you have to throw yourself. It remained mine until 2016 when I sold it to Saint Gobain, a world leader.
Were you trying to structure everything in anticipation of selling it?
I never thought about it until one day an American multinational made me an offer. After careful consideration, we decided to put it on the market but in a structured way. And in the end, we found the buyer most in line with us. I believe that in life you have to sell when someone wants to buy you, not when you decide. The value of a company is evaluated in terms of income / annuity or sales value. For everything else it is zero.
Apparently a very easy and very fast climb …
Behind every activity there is dedication and sacrifice. For 12 years I also worked on Saturdays and Sundays, obviously not having certainty of the future and of the result. I have also overcome difficult times and the 2008-2010 crisis.
Great satisfaction even before the sale …
Absolutely. Starting from a company in Romania and delivering all over the world such as Chile and Brazil and always opening new international markets was a great satisfaction.
There has recently been talk of cases where suddenly finding yourself with a lot of money all together can go to your head, what do you think? What is your experience?
First of all, I want to clarify one thing, I did not see the sale of my company as a gambling win. Just look at the statistics of the so-called lottery winners who squander everything because they don’t give the right value to money. I have continued to work and, to date, I have more activities than I was 4 years ago and I lead a normal life. My head is busy with my activities and I don’t need anything else.
What business are you talking about?
I got out of the glass business because I don’t understand entrepreneurs who sell their business and then, as soon as possible, compete with their previous creation. I believe that my choice is fair and respectful towards those who bought but also my collaborators who still work in the company and who have created a solid and important reality with me.Now I am investing in tourism.
From the glass market to tourism… what is the project?
In 2018, before the Milan-Cortina Olympics were awarded, I bought a hotel in Ponte di Legno that hadn’t received any offers for 3 years, convinced of the potential to become a 5-star reality directly on the ski slopes. From the purchase to the design, passing through the problems of various kinds, it will be operational after 7 years of work.
Why precisely in tourism? And where did the choice of Ponte di Legno come from?
I had a great desire to invest in my country and Italy is suitable for tourism due to the culture and conformation of the territory. As for Ponte di Legno, being a native of Desenzano del Garda I have always had a strong attachment to that place, but, beyond sentimental reasons, because despite being less famous than other mountain resorts it is still very rich.
Ponte di Legno is undergoing great development …
Yes, absolutely. Thanks to border funds and funds from the Lombardy Region, various infrastructural works are planned, including the intervention to bury all the state roads.
Are there spaces for young people to invest in tourism?
I would say no, usually investments of this kind in tourism are very substantial. But if young people have skills and will, they can easily carve out their space even in this historical period. In their place, I would invest in services or small commercial activities.
But aren’t commercial businesses among those that have paid the highest price of this pandemic?
And it is undeniable that it was not a good time but they close the activities that were already at the limit before and had not managed to innovate. Those who fail to adapt to change are destined to die professionally speaking. The secret is not necessarily inventing something new but simply doing something existing in a better way, trying to make use of a competent team that is willing to develop the project.
Could it be interesting for someone who does not know the country to invest in Romania?
I have an industrial center there and I can tell you that all the rental companies produce for the Romanian market. Romania is not attractive for the cost of labor, as it is not that low. Romania is beneficial to Romania itself, which is growing strongly.
News: future of the economy, if you were in government what would you do?
The money that Italy will have at its disposal should not be used to provide assistance, neither to companies that have almost gone bankrupt nor to people through citizenship income. For me this money will have to be distributed to healthy companies to tax hiring and to develop infrastructures that drive private investments.
Application of Smart Working in Italy .. what do you think?
I am not very supportive. In the world of industry, the office is the place where professionals meet and make decisions, while remaining well connected to the business reality itself.
A focus on you. Each of us has weaknesses and fears that can sometimes even turn into strengths… what are yours, Alessandro?
I certainly do, but maybe I still don’t have the courage to face them and admit them publicly.