Journal Article

State Ownership and International Competitiveness: The Italian Finmeccanica from Alfa Romeo to Aerospace and Defense (1947–2007)

Emanuele Felice

in Enterprise & Society: The International Journal of Business History

Published on behalf of Business History Conference

Volume 11, issue 3, pages 594-635
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 1467-2227
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1467-2235 | DOI:

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The article reconstructs the history of the Italian state-owned holding Finmeccanica, which since its birth in 1948 lived through a number of corporate reorganizations (shipyards, automobiles with Alfa Romeo, energy) and is now one of the leading European companies in aerospace and defence. With reference to the history of the Italian state entrepreneurship, this case may be paradigmatic of the advent of a new era, characterized by partially privatized enterprises in sectors considered strategic which are successful in the international arena (Finmeccanica, ENI). The article shows that the aeronautics, space and electronics divisions began in the 1950s and as a result of their technological characteristics were kept relatively free from political interference, with a strong propensity to pursue internationalization and thus competitiveness. The conclusion is that, under certain conditions, state ownership may result effective in ensuring not only adequate financial resources, but also a proper managerial governance.

Journal Article.  14844 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Business History