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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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30/09/19 12:07

The Great Enterprise of the largest galley ever

Pioneer of catering services and deviser of the ship supply contract, across three generations at the helm, Ligabue launched the celebrations in Venice for first 100 years of activity

Venice – Established in 1919, the family-run company Ligabue, pioneer of catering services and deviser of the ship contract, is celebrating its first 100 years of activities characterized both by success and serious vicissitudes with an exhibition held at Scuola Grande della Misericordia in Venice.

The two-months exhibition recalls the first century of activities of this Italian successful company. In fact, “The Great Enterprise” (100 years summed up in a monographic volume) illustrates both the entrepreneurial achievements and the private vicissitudes of a family belonging to the socio-economical-cultural aristocracy of Venice, which also represented Italy abroad due to its spirit of international expansion in all continents.

On Saturday the 21st of September, the Scuola Grande della Misericordia also hosted the great commemorative night, which was attended by a thousand guests, including local institutions, Venetian VIPs, art historians, economists, geographers, archaeologists, climatologists, many employees of the company, suppliers, partners and customers, as well as several representatives of the Italian shipping sector: Giovanni Visentini (Giovanni Visentini Trasporti Fluviomarittimi), Achille Onorato (Moby), Mario Fuduli (Grimaldi) and Venice Port Authority President Pino Musolino.

38-years old Group Chairman and Managing Director Inti Ligabue – the sole owner of the firm established by his grandfather Anacleto after World War I and strengthened by his father Giancarlo (who passed away in 2015) – delivered the welcome speech.

During the gala dinner held in the beautiful Misericordia upper room they showed a fine animated short film which summarized the history of the company, with the voice of the actor Stefano Accorsi. Another video depicting the current reality of the Venetian group was launched by the Italian-British presenter Victoria Cabello, before the danced grand finale in another building.

Ligabue Spa is active in 14 countries (Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Congo, Italy, Germany, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Switzerland), with 7,720 employees of 42 different nationalities organized in 5 divisions who manage 300 ships, 32 platforms and 115 remote sites, supplying 6,000 vessels and taking 40 million meals per year to the remotest places, at any weather condition and always in compliance with the perfect Italian style, thus achieving a 321 million euro turnover (+12% compared to 2017 and +80% compared to 2009), and aiming at closing 2019 with almost 350 million.

The most ancient company dealing with ship contracts and supplies celebrated its first century of activities with a kermess lasting from September the 22nd to November the 3rd: an exhibition, several conferences and many events to recount the history of the enterprise during the Nineteenth century and the first two decades of the new millennium, with three generations who combined their entrepreneurial vision with the quest for quality and with social and cultural commitment in various fields ranging from archaeology to sports, from collecting to anthropology, from scientific and medical research to nutrition.

Having become one of the centenarian Italian enterprises is both an intermediate goal and the end point of its growth and international development, overcoming two wars, several economic and political crises (one related to the company itself, at the beginning of the millennium), an overwhelming technological advancement, and the changing trends, life-styles and tastes.

All these vicissitudes and epoch-making changes reflect Italy’s confidence in its entrepreneurial skills, combining its entrepreneurial activities with commitment to culture, territorial growth, handing-down of intercultural dialogue values, knowledge and respect for diversity.

Although it is headquartered in Venice, the company is constantly exploring the world through the ship it supplies, and it has been carrying out anthropological and archaeological researches for 40 years through the Study and Research Centre established by Giancarlo Ligabue.

Said researches are developed and published with renewed passion by Inti Ligabue and by his Foundation dedicated to his father.

However, all this resulted from Anacleto’s (Cadelbosco di Sopra 1894 – Venice 1917) strength and self-denial. In fact, after the Great War – during which he worked at the officers refectory in Venice – having been awarded a medal for valour, Anacleto opened two small grocery stores in Venice to sell the quality products of his native town, i.e. Reggio Emilia.

Anticipating the times, the pioneer and visionary expanded his activities in the shipping sector, devising the service contract and the catering service, and improving the quality of onboard services and the life of workers, especially of those living abroad, by installing baking ovens and cold storage rooms on ships.

After World War II, he manged to rebuild the company from scratch and in the Sixties he left the helm of the company to Giancarlo (Venice 1931 – 2015), who was both an entrepreneur and an explorer, as well as a researcher – Doctor’s degree in paleontology at the Sorbonne University and 5 honoris causa degrees – and who contributed to the internationalization and diversification of Ligabue. In fact, the company established activities in several continents, both in the air sector and in on-shore and off-shore industrial platforms, in remote places and at the most extreme conditions, such as the expedition in the Antarctica in 1985 to provide catering services to the first permanent base managed by Enea and by the Italian National Research Council (CNR).

Their descendant is Inti (Venice, 1981) who joined the company in 2004, after a degree in economics at the University of Bologna and a master’s degree at the Bocconi University and Harvard Business School.

In 2012, he was appointed Managing Director and in 2016 he became Chairman of the Group, facing the crisis which threatened the company at the beginning of the millennium with the help of some trusted managers. The young entrepreneur launched a drastic restructuring of the group, eliminating the non-strategic sectors and ensuring the recovery of the last decade.

Today Ligabue Spa is a sound company which carries out important take-overs and receives new orders, besides those of its historical customers, including Onorato and Grimaldi, Lauro, d’Amico, ENI, Saipem and many Northern European shipowners within the maritime and river cruise industry, as well as several tour operators.

Following its experience with the Vistamar ship and with Visentini, Ligabue placed an order for the river ship Lady Diletta – curently under construction in Holland – to be deployed on the Danube, named after Inti’s daughter, 8 months old.

 

Angelo Scorza

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