Inside Magazine on Alioto Group:
Whilst searching for opportunities outside the unstable home market, Italy-based Alioto Group continues to reinforce its leading position as a supplier of steel wire ropes and innovative lifting solutions at an international level. Filomena Nardi caught up with Managing Director, Chiara Alioto, to find out how the company has developed in the past two years. The Costa Concordia cruise ship, which capsized off Giglio Island in Italy back in June 2012, has now been raised and towed to the port of Genoa for scrapping. This was the biggest salvage operation of its kind in maritime history and Alioto Group was part of it.
With over 40 years of experience in providing steel wire ropes, lifting chains, shackles, clumps and a complete range of lifting solutions tailored according to customers’ needs, Alioto Group managed to successfully offer its services to the most famous, and media intensive, cruise ship lifting operation of all time.
“The rescue of Costa Concordia has definitely been a very important project for us,” declared Managing Director Chiara Alioto. “We were busy for the duration of 2013 and well into 2014. We spent most of our energy and production, to address this sad and out of the ordinary event, which occurred so suddenly. For about a year and a half we have produced all the necessary lifting equipment at our headquarters in La Spezia, to be brought daily to the island of Giglio.” Whilst being involved in one of the most technologically advanced salvage operations ever attempted, Alioto’s team has continued to implement new strategies to ensure future growth. “We knew that this project would have been finished sooner or later, therefore we have continued to look around to find new opportunities and business purposes elsewhere,” said Ms Alioto.
Established over 40 years ago, Alioto prides itself with a team of 43 highly skilled and motivated young professionals, who spend a lot of energy in trying to create a business that remains current and meets customers’ needs. “We are a team that works together to reach our targets,” stated Mrs Alioto. “Ambition and motivation are the seeds from which our growth has proceeded in the past and I am sure that these features will continue to help us succeed in the future.”
Breaking New Grounds
Following a series of reconnaissance trips and visits to various industry trade fairs and events in countries of interest over recent years, today Alioto Group finds itself in new geographical areas that are promising for the future. “When you do business overseas, you need to consider the cultural mandates of each country in which you do business, ensure that you obey both local and international laws and do market research to determine if your product is a good fit in that area,” explained Mrs. Alioto. “This is why we visit a country a few times before deciding if this is a place in which we can comfortably do business.”
After careful consideration, in September 2014 Alioto decided to launch a new branch in Nigeria within the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone. “Nigeria is at the heart of the current West African oil boom and we hope that in just a few years the awareness of our brand and products will substantially increase in this area and in the African market,” noted Mrs Alioto.
“The next step to expand further into the African market will be toward Mozambique which is another country of great interest especially for the oil and gas industry, where there are many Italian and international companies in need of capable local suppliers like us.” Other destinations currently coveted by Alioto are the countries of the Caspian Sea. Therefore in June 2014 the company exhibited at the Caspian Oil & Gas tradeshow held in Baku, the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan. “This happened to be a great and excellent exhibition for us, through which we were able to conclude important business deals with notable companies such as wholly state-owned national oil company SOCAR and Baku Shipyard which builds platform supply vessels,” affirmed Mrs Alioto.
Due to the previous success in 2014, the company has also attended the 22nd edition of Caspian Oil & Gas 2015, held at the beginning of June with a bigger and better stand. “Once we have conquered the Azerbaijan market, by possibly launching a brand new branch in Baku, we are determined to break into Kazakhstan. This is a country a little more complicated and difficult to breach, but with plenty of business opportunities for us.”
Not All of Italy Struggling
As a result of Italy’s prolonged downturn, in which the domestic market has shrivelled and unemployment has reached record highs, the smaller, often family-owned manufacturers that are the backbone of the Italian economy have been hit especially hard and many of them went bankrupt or into administration, or were voluntarily wound up. Of course we are not talking about Alioto Group. The company is still going strong and when asked how she managed to keep her business afloat, Mrs Alioto replied: “One of the main reasons so many have gone to the wall is that they are too focused on the home market. Our company is Italian and our local market has always been very important to us, however considering the non-favourable economic moment for our country we sought new markets beyond Italy’s shores. “I would like to emphasize that Italy is not only about companies that are going down the pan, as the media want us to believe, but it is also packed with small and medium size businesses, like ourselves, that have only minimally been affected by the decline of the Italian economy.”
It seems that today, thriving in new emerging countries is a big prize for those Italian firms looking for company growth and business preservation. But Alioto is not giving up on Italy. With many competitors forced to back down, this leader in steel rope and lifting equipment is now trying to reclaim market terrain on home soil. “2013 and 2014 have been two great years for us and we have even greater expectations for the coming years,” said Mrs Alioto. “For the future, I’d like to be much more present in the Italian market as well as launching new branches in those countries that we are currently exploring. One of my wishes is to become one of the leading players in Africa and in the countries of the Caspian Sea within the next five years. I really hope this dream will come true.”