Despite the turbulent times, Panizzo Consulting and Panizzo Engineering believe in the future and in their business model that has been functioning perfectly in Serbia for more than 50 years, based on family values and experience. Today, with the same care and dedication, the Panizzo family is developing two companies, Nicma Balkan and Abacaar
Soon, the third generation of the family will become part of the team, my daughter Sofia Panizzo, who from the Turin Faculty of Design is setting up support for new horizons of style and branding of companies and products – said Mr Panizzo, with unconcealed pride, speaking to CorD Magazine.
The Panizzo family has been present and operating in Serbia ever since 1968, when your father worked for FIAT as a manager. Can you tell us more about the history and business in Kragujevac?
My father, Mario Panizzo, came to the Crvena Zastava Institute on 21st October 1968, as a representative of FIAT, the Turin car factory. Every year on that date, the Great School Hour is held in Kragujevac, a traditional anti-war event dedicated to the civilian victims of the Nazi occupiers. This is of special importance for our family, because the basis of our professional and life approach has always been respect for the cultural and historical heritage of the people in whose territory we live. Thus, our business model from 1968 puts the socio-cultural factor first. Our business model is based on fairness, justice, and finding the right solutions under existing laws and norms. We started as management in the company, and over the years other companies came to Serbia, ones that I mostly represent. We are actively working on solving all kinds of problems, from administrative to technological, and connecting with institutions and ministries. I do not remember that there were ever any serious difficulties and we did not have a single moment when the representatives of the institutions did not help us or solve a problem. Successful cooperation with institutions is also the result of our efforts to accurately and clearly inform our clients about the laws and the way of doing business in Serbia.
Can you tell us a bit more about Panizzo Consulting, which has been operating since 2012, and which you personally run? In addition, you run Nicma Balkan and Abacaar, which will include other members of your family.
While solving problems, Panizzo consulting has developed a special engineering sector for companies. Once a significant part of our work was related to the translation of customs documents or the interpretation and understanding of cadastral documents, today the biggest challenges are of a technological nature, so Panizzo consulting has grown into Panizzo Engineering.
We are currently working on the digitalisation technology project of Aerostrutture spa, which has worked in the aircraft industry for more than 20 years producing titanium, steel and aluminium components and is located about a hundred kilometres south of Rome. The Cooperation Agreement was signed on 20th December 2021 with those responsible for the R&D sector, Cavaliere del Lavoro della Repubblica (Knight of Labour of the Republic) Augusto Michelagnoli. In this cooperation, we have very ambitious plans for the development of technological processes that can be applied in a wide range of industries.
One of my favourite business cases is Nicma Balkan, where I have been working as a director since 2012. Nicma Balkan is part of Nicma Group Italy, which has been dealing with facility management since 1971. This activity started with winning a big tender for technical and civil cleaning in the Fiat factory in Kragujevac right at the beginning of the project. I remember placing an inscription on the administrative building ‘Proudly made in Serbia’ and moving my team to the same administrative building where my father started working in 1968. In April 2015, I was offered the chance to run the company Idest, among other things. It is an engineering company from Turin founded in 1999, which opened a company in Serbia in 2010, as engineering support to the capital investment of Fiat Automobiles Serbia during the reconstruction of the Crvena Zastava factory. Some time later, we started cooperation with the Italian Embassy in Belgrade, where we monitored the project of rehabilitating river flows in certain flooded parts of the territory of Serbia. In addition to standard engineering services, the company specialises in industrial design at all levels. The work is guided by FIDIC international engineering principles and EU standards. In addition to design, it also offers works supervision and management services on behalf of investors.
We are actively working on solving all kinds of problems, from administrative to technological, and connecting with institutions and ministries
Along with other support to various companies in Morocco, Romania and Serbia, we followed the construction and start of activities of the Fiat supplier factory called PMC. PMC is a fusion of two companies, and I am involved as a long-time friend and a person of trust, which is another word that represents a strong pillar of our business model. We are actively working on solving all kinds of problems, from administrative to technological, and connecting with institutions and ministries Currently, my wife Sonja Panizzo, who is part of my team, runs Abacaar, which had a minor standstill and is now moving into electronics in the automotive sector, with young and motivated engineers on several projects including AI and a battery management system for electric vehicles. The third generation of the family will soon become part of the team, my daughter Sofia Panizzo, who from the Turin Faculty of Design is setting up support for new horizons of style and branding of companies and products.
A representative office of Confindustria will open in Kragujevac soon and you will be their authorised representative. What nominated you for that position and what are your plans?
A quality operating system has become a reference for many companies that have come to Serbia and for serious cooperation with the Confindustria system, which has more than 150,000 members in Italy. Confindustria has been present in Serbia since June 2012, and since then it has made great strides in promoting and improving economic and social relations between Serbia and Italy. Cooperation with this extraordinary organisation led to an agreement to open a representative office in Kragujevac, where I will be the territorial representative.
Let me remind you that Confindustria is a representative office of the Confederation of Italian Industry in Serbia, founded with the aim of being an address for Italian business people looking for business partners in Serbia and for Serbian companies that want to be part of the system’s network. The main goal is to expand the network of companies, both domestic and foreign, on the territory of Šumadija.
Kragujevac also has a very long industrial tradition in the region, and in the last 10 years the number of foreign investors has skyrocketed. A few months ago, coordination began with the director of PKS in Kragujevac, Mr Predrag Lučić, and with the mayor’s office. We have set up a base with institutions and companies that always welcome organisations like Confindustria in this area for increasing visibility, business opportunities and the exchange of technological and business achievements and capabilities.