The Belgian Bekaert, world leader in the production of steel wire coating, strengthens its presence in Italy by investing in Figline Valdarno. At the end of February, the group that flaunts a 3 billion Euro turnover servicing clients in 120 countries, announced its purchase of the industrial complex in the Florentine province that produces the steel cord used in the production of tires, especially truck tires, from Pirelli.

The operation took place within the context of the sale to Bekaert of Pirelli’s entire steel cord activities, which include another four complexes around the world (Turkey, Brazil, China, and Romania) for a total value of 255 million. The Italian company’s choice to exit from this business follows the choices of other global tires producers to cede, to specialized third parties, the production of this component. The sales agreement also includes a long-term commercial contract between the two companies with which Pirelli will ensure itself, for a few years, the supply of products from its former plants to use for the tire carcass. In the weeks preceding the deal, an agreement with the nearly 400 employees of the Figline Valdarno plant was announced that would guarantee current employment levels for the next four years at least.

Bekaert has already had a presence in Italy for some years. Remaining within the tire sector, in 2010 the group purchased a steel cord factory in Sardinia from the Japanese Bridgestone. The production of automotive products constitutes the Belgian [group]’s primary source of revenue. Other relevant applications regard construction, which account for one quarter of the turnover, energy, equipment, consumer goods, and agriculture. 

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