Gli assetti proprietari e di controllo nell'agroalimentare italiano

Baraldi, Franco (2009) Gli assetti proprietari e di controllo nell'agroalimentare italiano, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Economia e politica agraria ed alimentare: progetto n. 1 "Economia alimentare", 20 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2037.
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The recent default of important Italian agri-business companies provides a challenging issue to be investigated through an appropriate scientific approach. The events involving CIRIO, FERRUZZI or PARMALAT rise an important research question: what are the determinants of performance for Italian companies in the Italian agri – food sector? My aim is not to investigate all the factors that are relevant in explaining performance. Performance depends on a wide set of political, social, economic variables that are strongly interconnected and that are often very difficult to express by formal or mathematical tools. Rather, in my thesis I mainly focus on those aspects that are strictly related to the governance and ownership structure of agri – food companies representing a strand of research that has been quite neglected by previous scholars. The conceptual framework from which I move to justify the existence of a relationship between the ownership structure of a company, governance and performance is the model set up by Airoldi and Zattoni (2005). In particular the authors investigate the existence of complex relationships arising within the company and between the company and the environment that can bring different strategies and performances. They do not try to find the “best” ownership structure, rather they outline what variables are connected and how they could vary endogenously within the whole economic system. In spite of the fact that the Airoldi and Zattoni’s model highlights the existence of a relationship between ownership and structure that is crucial for the set up of the thesis the authors fail to apply quantitative analyses in order to verify the magnitude, sign and the causal direction of the impact. In order to fill this gap we start from the literature trying to investigate the determinants of performance. Even in this strand of research studies analysing the relationship between different forms of ownership and performance are still lacking. In this thesis, after a brief description of the Italian agri – food sector and after an introduction including a short explanation of the definitions of performance and ownership structure, I implement a model in which the performance level (interpreted here as Return on Investments and Return on Sales) is related to variables that have been previously identified by the literature as important such as the financial variables (cash and leverage indices), the firm location (North Italy, Centre Italy, South Italy), the power concentration (lower than 25%, between 25% and 50% and between 50% and 100% of ownership control) and the specific agri – food sector (agriculture, food and beverage). Moreover we add a categorical variable representing different forms of ownership structure (public limited company, limited liability company, cooperative) that is the core of our study. All those variables are fully analysed by a preliminary descriptive analysis. As in many previous contributions we apply a panel least squares analysis for 199 Italian firms in the period 1998 – 2007 with data taken from the Bureau Van Dijck Dataset. We apply two different models in which the dependant variables are respectively the Return on Investments (ROI) and the Return on Sales (ROS) indicators. Not surprisingly we find that companies located in the North Italy representing the richest area in Italy perform better than the ones located in the Centre and South of Italy. In contrast with the Modigliani - Miller theorem financial variables could be significant and the specific sector within the agri – food market could play a relevant role. As the power concentration, we find that a strong property control (higher than 50%) or a fragmented concentration (lower than 25%) perform better. This result apparently could suggest that “hybrid” forms of concentrations could create bad functioning in the decision process. As our key variables representing the ownership structure we find that public limited companies and limited liability companies perform better than cooperatives. This is easily explainable by the fact that law establishes that cooperatives are less profit – oriented. Beyond cooperatives public limited companies perform better than limited liability companies and show a more stable path over time. Results are quite consistent when we consider both ROI and ROS as dependant variables. These results should not lead us to claim that public limited company is the “best” among all possible governance structures. First, every governance solution should be considered according to specific situations. Second more robustness analyses are needed to confirm our results. At this stage we deem these findings, the model set up and our approach represent original contributions that could stimulate fruitful future studies aimed at investigating the intriguing issue concerning the effect of ownership structure on the performance levels.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Baraldi, Franco
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
12 Giugno 2009

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