Sweet dreams are made of this

When an Italian firm wanted to export its food-packaging products, it turned to Intesa Sanpaolo as a partner. Robert Galbraith learns how the bank’s internationalisation department helped Alcas achieve global success

Robert Galbraith


Supplying gelaterie, pâtisseries and horeca with plastic packaging may not sound like a business ripe for internationalisation. But Florence-based Alcas has ably demonstrated that a premium local service is valued the world over.

The company was founded by Italico Casebasse in the early Sixties, when it made packaging for fashion accessories. But his son, Aldemaro, quickly spotted a less crowded and more promising market in cakes and ice-cream and the business diversified a few years later.

One of its creations was a plastic dome for a local product called zuccotto, a famous Italian cake.

It developed a range of cups, tubs and sundae-style glasses for ice-cream parlours, all in plastic. Its clients were mostly independent pâtisseries and artisan gelato makers, mainly in Tuscany.

When the third generation of the Casebasse family took over, they looked for ways to advance innovation and the style of products, creating a lab with a dedicated team of engineers and designers and creative people – with amazing results.

They also explored opportunities to expand the company’s sales abroad.

This was precisely the sort of ambition that Intesa Sanpaolo’s internationalisation department was looking for. Alcas was already known to the group as a client of the central Italian network of bank subsidiary Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze.

Five years ago, Intesa Sanpaolo’s corporate finance subsidiary Mediocredito Italiano became a partner to Alcas. Since then it has provided a range of specialist support services including Nova+ finance, which is specifically designed to fund innovation and R&D projects. The company used it to improve production processes and the materials used, and overhaul product design.

Later, Mediocredito advised on applying for finance through a regional public funding scheme for companies looking to expand production. The internationalisation office’s Americas Desk also played an important role supporting the development of sales in the US and helping set up a base in Miami.

“The development of new products, with the aim of making them visually appealing and functional, means we have to invest in production processes."

“Mediocredito Italiano proved to be a partner which was able to understand where we want to go and support in every way,” was how company president Stefano Casebasse described the partnership with the banking group.

In Italy, the company has 45 per cent market share and its products are now sold in 70 countries around the world with exports accounting for 40 per cent of its revenues. The investment in its facilities means that 95 per cent of production still comes from Italy.

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