CI VIEW: Prysmian still sees MENA/Africa as “next frontier” despite Iraq, Libya setbacks, CEO says UPDATE


CERNOBBIO/WASHINGTON (CI MENA) (Updating September 2, 2015 to add comments from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley) —  Prysmian Group (FTSE:PRY), the Milan-based leader in energy and telecommunications cables, still sees Africa and Middle East/North Africa as the “next frontier” of growth notwithstanding setbacks in Iraq and Libya, Prysmian Group CEO Valerio Battista said.

[Prysmian Group CEO Valerio Battista speaks to Capitol Intelligence using CI Glass at the Italian Infrastructure Day held at the Borsa Italiana in Milan on September 9, 2014.]

Battista said the group is already seeing good results from its Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire-based subsidiary Societe Sicable which manufacturers domestic electricity cables and is seeking to expand into Mozambique along with Italian oil major ENI (NYSE: E) and other major oil companies such as Woodlands, Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC). 

Prysmian is one of the few global companies to have invested and launched important operations in the strategic markets of Iraq and Libya.

Battista said the company’s operations in Iraq has been going well only until last month when the growing terrorist threat by the self-declared Islamic State (also known as ISIS) forced it to close its Baghdad office.

Another important set-back for Prysmian was the collapse of the Libyan government, forcing Prysmian to keep cables and other equipment ordered for the country in storage as the company was unable to fulfill outstanding contracts.

Salini Impregilo, the listed Italian construction group, has a EUR 2bn in order backlogs in Libya connected to its contract to build the Tripoli to Benghazi highway and the construction of a number of much needed hospitals, (than) Salini Impregilo chairman Claudio Costamagna told Capitol Intelligence.

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaking to Capitol Intelligence at the Forum Ambrosetti said “radical Islam is bad for business.  If business people would help sell politicians a more robust intervention (for) why does it matter for us? — It results in higher gas prices, less economic opportunities in the western world,” Graham said.  “The voice of business is missing here. I wish businesses would speak up about what happen to us when parts of the world fall under control of radical Islamism.”

[US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to Capitol Intelligence using CI Glass at Forum Ambrosetti at Villa D’Este in Cernobbio, Italy on September 5. 2014.]

Senator Graham noted that almost five years ago the security situation in Iraq was turned around after than Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and US military commanders Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Stanley McChrystal made private sector investment and job creation a strategic military objective in Iraq.

In fact, the growth of Iraqi to Iraqi private sector business was one the main drivers in defeating Al Qaeda in Iraq at the time, Iraqi-American investment bank owner Hassan Aldahan said.

“When you Al Qaeda between two Iraqi businessmen trying to do a deal, guess who always loses? It is always Al Qaeda, ” Aldahan said.

Graham, who sits on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee and the investigative oversight Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, will play a leading role in the nomination of the Republican nominee for president in 2016 due to his position as South Carolina’s most important political representative.  Prysmian is building a new manufacturing plant in Abbeville, South Carolina.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley biggest achievement was convincing Munich-based BMW to invest more than USD 1bn to increase capacity of its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant by 50% and create some 800 new jobs.

[South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speaks with Capitol Intelligence/CI MENA using CI Glass after speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. September 2, 2015]

During her speech at the National Press Club on September 2, 2015, Haley said the Spartanburg plant is the German automakers’ largest production plant in the world.

“The Germans do not like to hear this, but South Carolina is the BMW capital of the World,” she said.

And South Carolina is not only BMW and Prysmian:

“We build planes with Boeing. We build cars with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and now Volvo. We have five – yes, five – worldwide tire companies with Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, Giti Tire and now Trelleborg, Governor Haley said.

Goldman Sachs International Chairman and former World Trade Organization (WTO) head Peter Sutherland said investment banks play a key role in the efficient transfer of capital and economic growth.

[Goldman Sachs International Chairman Peter Sutherland speaks to Capitol Intelligence at Forum Ambrosetti at Villa D’Este, Cernobbio, Italy September 5, 2014]

By PK Semler in Milan and Cernobbio and Washington, DC. For more information please call +1-202-549-3399 or email

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