Having strengthened our Investor Relations, the Italmobiliare stock has been the subject of growing interest from new national and international investors, which has led to greater dynamism and higher trading volumes on the Stock Exchange.
The first few months of 2020 have been marred by the dramatic events caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has spread at a rate that few expected. Economically, the period has also been hit by the precautionary measures introduced by the government and regional authorities.
Italmobiliare has complied with their instructions, promptly implementing, both at Holding Company level and at the subsidiaries, all safety and control measures in favour of employees to limit the possibilities of contagion, while at the same time doing all we could to ensure that production was able to continue.
The effects on the Group's activities of the dramatic events that we are experiencing cannot yet be determined with any precision. They are subject to constant monitoring and analysis, both for listed securities (HeidelbergCement's shares have been hit by the hefty correction of markets generally and the high volatility that has caused) and for the performance of the other portfolio companies. As far as the portfolio companies are concerned, however, diversification and careful risk management should allow us to limit the potential impacts on the Holding Company. The predominant part of the portfolio in terms of Net Asset Value is represented by companies in sectors related to the food chain (Caffè Borbone, Sirap and Capitelli) and to the energy sector (Italgen and AGN Energia), i.e. businesses that produce "essential" goods and services, for which it seems reasonable to assume that the consequences of the crisis will be less harsh. Specific measures to remodel operating activities have been implemented for the other companies, especially those exposed to retail trends or that supply "non-essential" goods and services and which are potentially more subject to the security measures and limitations adopted around the world, with particular attention to the sustainability of their cash requirements.
The investments we made have proved to be resilient, but above all careful risk management and operating procedures have made it possible to keep production going at almost all of the portfolio companies.
The Holding Company's business remains concentrated on careful monitoring and risk assessment, and will be able to take advantage of its significant cash position (approximately 500 million euro at the end of 2019), which guarantees ample room for manoeuvre, even in particularly critical scenarios.
In these dramatic months, Italmobiliare, together with the Pesenti Foundation and the Group companies, has felt very strongly the need to participate actively in solidarity initiatives to help cope with the country's serious health and social emergency. Support has been given to institutions and operators by purchasing medical and healthcare material and making it available; and in this context, among other things, a programme has been developed, together with other groups, to buy equipment and ventilators for intensive care units in Italian hospitals.
It is difficult to envisage what the future holds for us all. There are still too many variables that need to be defined. We will certainly enter a complicated transition phase, characterised by high levels of uncertainty and volatility, which will lead us to a new economic and social model, hopefully one that is better. It is up to all of us, including institutions, politicians and intermediate bodies, to do our best to make this happen.