By Karishma Maharam, London
19 April 2012
Mr Ruini, what is the current situation with Agriculture, Textile Industry and Mineral Resources, your three main business targets and how are these sectors performing?
These sectors are very different, but generally speaking, we believe that there is a growing interest for solid, material assets, the traditional primary sectors, if you like. Real things like agriculture, manufacturing and precious minerals. The bubble-prone economy of virtual assets is almost over and it hasn’t made this World any good, if you ask me.
What do you mean exactly?
This may sound out-fashioned, but the era of television, internet, globalisation and Wall Street style leveraged finance hasn’t contributed much evolution or wealth redistribution. Contrary to most opinion, it has not even increased people’s freedom or culture. It has produced massive inequalities and destroyed families and societies.
And why should a primary sector based economy be any better?
I don’t know about Martians, but the economy of the human society is based on production and consumption. In order to consume, we need to produce. We can live without a computer, we can’t live without food. Agriculture produces vital products which tend to maintain a fair value. Commodity futures volatility may be an exception, but the general public is not much affected by that and in times of deep crises local/rural communities actually fare better than others. The rural or small local community is the natural habitat of the family and a place where inequalities are low.
Do you envision times of crisis?
Well it’s not about envisioning. In 2008 we had a global recession which has hit mostly the Western World and a few developing countries with poor diversification. This crisis was never really over and only Government interventions globally have made it possible for Western economies to survive. Central interventions can’t go on forever, besides they produce inflation and currency devaluation, which in turn gives a boost to the physical assets we were talking before.
Let’s get back to the business sectors you follow. Are they already enjoying the benefits of the major change you predict?
Not quite. Opposite to any revolution of the past, developing countries are leading the way and the West is divided between those who try to stop the change and those who accept it to reap the profits of it.
Which category are you in?
The second of course. We are happy for the ‘New World’ to lead the way. They’ve got the right environment, the right people and most of all the enthusiasm. At the same time, we have acquired an enormous experience during the centuries and human talent which is our greatest asset. For example, we have contributed to the ‘Made inItaly’ textile quality and this is a very real thing. So, we humbly accept to be set aside as old World from a ‘political’ standpoint, but as to our know-how, that’s unbeatable.
So what sectors are best performers and what areas are most interesting?
Mineral resources are playing a major role right now and we expect it to expand rapidly in the next 5 years. Gold and precious mineral exploration is becoming more attractive than ever with gold bullion, silver, diamond prices at these levels, inflation seen on the rise, many factors making it a win-win situation. Anyhow, our view is on the long term and with this in mind, agriculture, mining, food processing, textile and pharmaceuticals are the sectors to invest on.
And what is your role as a company with firms investing in these sectors?
Actex is a service provider, a consultancy with real, hands-on experience. Our consultants have spent all their life working in the businesses that have made it big in the last decades in Europe,AmericaandAustralia. These are the people that made the quality excellence that has reached the high-end luxury markets. Those products that developing countries were so eager to buy and now are so eager to manufacture themselves. We are the few who can help them lead the way in the future.