Italian Trade Delegation Gives Miami Favorable Review
By Dan Dolan
A major Italian metal-fabricating company is considering building a manufacturing center in Miami-Dade County after touring the area last week as part of a trade delegation organized by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.
OMV Ventura Tubes Chairman Marco Colombo said officials of his Milan company, a division of European giant Magnetto Steel Group, will decide if they want to establish a welded-steel-tube plant in the county by the second quarter of next year.
"Miami’s port facilities and location will play a key part in our decision," said Mr. Colombo, whose firm makes tubing for Whirlpool household appliances as well as the automotive and furniture industries. "When you produce tubes, being close to shipping facilities is quite important. We also are looking to expand our business in South America, which makes the port very important as well."
Even if plans for a factory don’t materialize, Mr. Colombo said, his 45-year-old company won’t walk away from Miami. He said his firm, which has about $40 million in gross annual revenues, is considering opening a Miami trading office that would employ 15-20 people. OMV Ventura Tubes may also invest in county real estate.
"Miami has a vibrant economy that offers many business opportunities," Mr. Colombo said. "There is a wonderful business climate. The culture here is very European. This makes it easy to do business. Our decisions will be based on opportunity, not any incentives offered by the government."
Another member of the delegation, Stefano Carraro of Milan’s RW Business Partners, said the county’s willingness to offer business incentives, including tax abatement, make it an excellent choice for business, especially when combined with its geography and shipping facilities.
"When Europeans think of Florida, they think about tourism, real estate and the space shuttle — not industry, " Mr. Carraro said. "But Miami wants industry, and that’s a big plus. This is the time to come here."
Italy Consul General Gianfranco Colognato, who helped organize the trade mission, agreed. "There are a lot of opportunities in commercial, industrial and real estates investments for Italian corporations here," he said. "Florida and Miami are young in investment and still growing. I will be helping to bring other trade delegations here."
Other businessmen on last week’s trade mission, which included a daylong seminar arranged by Arthur J. Furia of Miami law firm Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, represented Italy’s shipbuilding, jewelry, fashion and food industries. Advertisement