The Italian Almanac

riding a vespa

Italian News - July 11

Italy's motorbike and scooter maker Piaggio made a brilliant debut on the Milan stock market on Tuesday leaping 8.91% from the price established in its initial public offering. Many observers had doubts about the timing of Piaggio's market debt given the current slump on international markets. However, Piaggio Chairman Roberto Colaninno never had any doubts and said the share's positive performance was "not a matter of courage but a job well done".

Looking towards the future, Colaninno said Piaggio's goals were "those we have set out in our programs and plan. Growth is our prime target and what happened on the market gives us every reason for optimism". One of the main reasons why Piaggio went on the market was to allow creditor banks which accepted a debt-for-equity swap to sell their shares and recover their exposure.

Aside from producing the popular Vespa and motorbikes under its own name, Piaggio expanded production by acquiring Italian rival Aprilia at the end of 2004. Aprilia makes a full range of bikes from mopeds to dirt bikes to Grand Prix racers. Piaggio also owns the classic Italian marques Moto Guzzi, Laverda and Gilera.