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Allegrini 2018
WINE ECONOMY

2020 of Italian wine “x-rayed”: small and large wineries doing well, the “middle ground” does not

Management DiVino’s detailed analysis of the financial statements filed by 539 companies in the sector, divided by turnover, type of company, region

While the aggregate figures tell of a recovery of Italian wine on world and domestic markets that is in some ways formidable, in 2021, if we look at the balance sheets of the companies in detail, we discover that, in the end, it didn’t go so badly in 2020 either, at an overall level, given that, overall, revenues fell by just -2.99%, even if profitability suffered a little more, given that EBITDA fell by -5.99%. However, the aggregate figure itself says something but not much, because, as is well known, the Italian entrepreneurial system is made up of very small companies and large companies, private individuals and cooperatives, farms and commercial enterprises, which, moreover, operate in many different areas. And so, looking at the 2020 financial statements in detail, it is confirmed in black and white that, for some, the 2020 pandemic was an even better year, from an economic point of view, than 2019. This is especially true for small wineries with turnovers of between 3 and 5 million euros, for those over 50 million euros and for cooperatives, while everything in between suffered, and not a little. This was confirmed by the in-depth survey “What the balance sheets of Italian wine companies say”, presented today by “Il Management Divino” (part of the Studio Impresa galaxy, which is part of the Reliant group), which not only took into consideration the balance sheets filed by 539 companies, 88% of those in Italy with a turnover of more than 3 million euros, but also divided them into classes (159 those with revenues of up to 5 million euros, 150 those up to 10 million euros, 107 those between 10 and 20 million euros, 84 those up to 50 million euros and 39 those over 50 million euros), types (342 private and 197 cooperatives, 291 companies classified as agricultural and 248 as industrial) and also according to other criteria, for example, “light with little immobilization” (the most commercial), which number 165, and “strong with high immobilization” (with their own vineyards and cellars), which number 176. And so, at an overall level, it emerges that the panel’s revenues, in 2020, were €9.8 billion compared to €10.1 billion in 2019, while profitability, i.e. ebitda, was €884 million, lower than the €940 million in 2019, but higher than the €864 million in 2018, for example. Breaking down the figure, it emerges that the loss of revenue was mainly borne by private companies (€6.1 billion in 2020 versus €6.4 billion in 2019), while for cooperatives things remained stable at €3.1 billion. Private companies, however, maintained a stable overall profitability ratio of 11.3%, while cooperatives dropped from 5.5% in 2019 to 4.9% in 2020.
But going into even greater detail, it turns out, for example, that for small wineries with a turnover of less than €5 million, profitability rose from 8.8% in 2019 to 9.4% in 2020, as it did for companies with a turnover of more than €50 million, for which it rose from 8.9% in 2019 to 9.6% in 2020, while companies with a turnover of between €10 and €20 million suffered the most, with profitability falling from 10.15% in 2019 to 7.7% in 2020.
Again, looking at the level of fixed assets of the companies, it emerges that those considered "light" (i.e. below a ratio of tangible fixed assets to assets of 29.7%) have seen their ebitda grow from 10.1% to 11.4%, but once again thanks above all to those with a turnover of less than 5 million euros, which rose from 8.6% to 13.3%, and those with over 50 million euros, for which the parameter grew from 11.5% to 14.4%. Those considered “strong”, i.e. those companies where ownership of vineyards and real estate weighs more heavily, on the whole, recorded an increase in revenues, from 2.1 to 2.5 billion euros, but lost something in profitability, which fell from 13.6% to 11.2%. Dividing again between agricultural and non-agricultural companies, however, it emerges that the “strong” agricultural companies recorded a slight loss in revenues and profitability between 2020 and 2019, while the non-agricultural ones saw revenues grow, but lost something in profitability.
With two figures that emerge clearly: the “strong” companies were those with the best ebitda ever, with a rate of 19.15%. And looking at the territorial variable, those in Tuscany are ahead of everyone else, with an ebitda of 28.5%. This confirms the regional ranking that emerges when considering the data of all companies by type and size, with Tuscan companies with profitability of 19.6%, followed by those of Liguria at 14.2%, Umbria at 13.7%, Piedmont at 11.3%, and Lombardy at 10.8%, while the lowest profitability per company is in Molise (2.4%), preceded by Sardinia (4.3%), Basilicata (4.8%) and Emilia Romagna (5.6%).
The ranking changes if we look at the total regional company turnover: at the absolute top is Veneto, with over 3 billion euros, followed by Emilia Romagna, with 1.2, and then Trentino, Piedmont and Tuscany, all just over a billion in revenues. Veneto is also at the top for EBITDA (226 million euros), ahead of Tuscany (199) and Piedmont (120). The list of employees per company is also unusual, with Tuscany again leading the way with more than 68, ahead of Sicily with 55 and Emilia Romagna with 49. The list changes once again if we look at revenues per employee, with Veneto at the top with 678,224 euros, ahead of Trentino with 565,148, Emilia Romagna with 564,621 and Piedmont with 562,546.
Lots of data, figures and analyses that confirm, as has been said, “that just as Italian wine expresses itself with so many grape varieties, so many denominations and so many territories in the glass, so too it is made up of so many very different entrepreneurial realities, which in their diversity must be analyzed to understand what works for a certain type of reality in a certain territory and what does not, because there is no one-size-fits-all recipe, and this is something that both those who manage companies and the institutions that guide national and territorial policies must take into consideration”, Luca Castagnetti, director of Management DiVino, explained to WineNews. “Looking at the data from our study, for example, it emerges how, in 2020, things went better, on the profitability front, for small wineries and for larger, more capitalized ones. And this can be explained”, he comments, “for different reasons. Smaller wineries, for example, with all events at a standstill, saved a lot on participation in trade fairs and marketing initiatives, which have a greater impact on their turnover than others, for example. The larger and more structured ones, on the other hand, have had the ability to better interpret the market moment and the means to do so, including financial ones. And it is no coincidence that, as we have seen in recent months, the processes of aggregation, merger or investment have mainly involved these two types of reality. Or again, two models emerge that excel in different respects, such as that of Veneto and Tuscany. But beyond what emerges in the numbers, the point of our analysis is precisely that of understanding, in an almost surgical manner, what happens, what works and what doesn’t work for the different types of enterprise in the world of wine. There are so many different types. And our analysis tool, which is based on the balance sheets filed with the Chambers of Commerce and supplied by Infocamere, and therefore on final and real data, serves precisely this purpose. And it allows us to understand which are the real “best practices” for each type of company, in an almost tailor-made way. And continuously looking at many aspects. On 24 November, for example, we will present a focus on the impact of sustainability practices on different types of companies”.

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