The big players in Italian local public services. Constraints, opportunities and growth strategies
One of the objectives of the reforms and liberalization of the last 15 years in local public services was to reduce the traditional fragmentation of production. This was to be achieved through restructuring that reduced inefficiencies and made it more possible to exploit economies of scale, thereby stimulating the emergence of national “big players”. In this paper we analyze the evolution and current position of the largest operators that have emerged in the different sectors of local public services. The aim is to identify factors that have helped or hindered the growth process. Through an analysis of twelve among the largest businesses we identify four evolutionary paths. In our view the main drivers have been: a) a presence in the energy sector (mainly due to its high profitability); b) a favourable local political framework; and c) a tradition of efficient internal organization and independence of local politics.
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