“Italian bureaucracy? It’s less problematic than I’d been told” smiles Cato Syversen, managing director of the Creditsafe Group, the Norwegian multinational supplier of business information on the creditworthiness and market position of companies.
He’s optimistic because his company has just opened in Italy and in the first four weeks of operations has already captured 170 new annual subscribers to its services. The central operation is in Turin where 25 people are employed “But we plan to recruit 300 in the next five years” he adds.
An ambitious plan for someone who’s only just landed in our country. And even more at a time when overseas investment is a rare commodity, and above all when the prospect of a return to better times isn’t yet in sight. “And in fact” he continues “it’s the right moment at this time. We supply companies with crucial information which is even more useful at times when the risk of delayed payments is higher. Not only that, but our database allows customers to find new clients, and because we are already operating in 9 other countries (Norway, Sweden, UK, France, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Belgium and the USA) we can help our users find reliable export partners.”
The Italian market for business information has already got two major champions in the form of Crif and Cerved but there is a wide margin for manoeuvre. “If you take an estimate” Syversen clarifies, “it seems that there are around 100 thousand Italian companies who use services like ours. The market turnover is interesting in any case; we speak of it being about €350 million a year, the second biggest market in Europe behind Germany which we value at €375M.”
Italian SMEs are the Group’s target. In order to convince them to subscribe to Creditsafe’s services the company focusses on the price factor, “An annual subscription with us is around €700” he quantifies, “and gives the opportunity to use up to 250 reports. Today in Italy a single report costs between €15 and €20. That’s the same figure that there was in the UK. Since we arrived in that market the price has reduced to €4.”
It’s the business model that allows Creditsafe to reduce costs, by distributing the reports on the internet and selling their contracts using a telesales centre.
“With the help of cloud computing,” concludes Syversen “the costs of the necessary infrastructure are reduced and this allows us to invest overseas more easily. More than this, after Italy by the end of 2014 we will have opened in another European country and another outside of Europe.”
350 Million – The market turnover. The Italian B2B business information market is the second biggest in Europe after Germany’s (where it’s valued at €375m per year)
100,000 – Italian customers. – According to industry insiders there would appear to be this number of Italian businesses subscribing to business information services.
15 – The cost of a report. Average price of a report on the creditworthiness and the assets of a company.
Source: Il Sole 24 Ore
For more information contact David Knowles, Marketing Director – Creditsafe Group – David.Knowles@creditsafe.com