Valerio Battista, the executive who transformed Prysmian SpA from a unit of tire maker Pirelli into a global leader in cables, has managed to push the Italian company past the €10 billion ($10.9 billion) market value threshold in what could be his final term at the helm.
(Bloomberg) — Valerio Battista, the executive who transformed Prysmian SpA from a unit of tire maker Pirelli into a global leader in cables, has managed to push the Italian company past the €10 billion ($10.9 billion) market value threshold in what could be his final term at the helm.
The 66-year-old likely won’t seek another mandate as chief executive officer when his term expires next year, people familiar with the matter said.
Still Battista, who’s been Prysmian’s CEO since it was spun off almost two decades ago, is set to remain one of the company’s top shareholders, as he plans to retain his roughly 1.5% holding, said the people, who asked not to be named before any official decision is made.
A spokesman for the company, which has a succession plan in place according to its 2022 report on remuneration and compensation, declined to comment on Battista’s potential plans and investments.
Battista already retired as general manager in 2021, the company said in the report.
The shares fell as much as 2.5% in Milan trading following the initial Bloomberg report. That marked their biggest decline in intraday terms since Jan. 5.
Prysmian, which dates back to the 2005 purchase from Pirelli by private equity funds owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has grown both organically and through acquisitions. In 2010 it bought Dutch cable maker Draka Holding NV, and in 2017 it purchased US rival General Cable Corp.
Shares in Prysmian, which makes cables for power transmission and distribution as well as optical fiber, have gained about 150% since the 2007 initial public offering, outpacing Milan’s benchmark FTSE MIB. The company passed the €10 billion market value level earlier this month, when the stock reached a record high of €37.6.
The Milan-based company in November raised its 2022 guidance for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization to around €1.5 billion. The next milestone could be €2 billion in adjusted Ebitda over the medium term, the people said.
Prysmian also raised its guidance for free cash flow for the year, now seen rising as high as €500 million. The company wants to deploy the cash for internal growth in businesses driven by energy and digital transition, though major deals are seen as unlikely, the people said.
Prysmian has also said it plans to focus on less mature markets like medium-voltage in the US, where demand is rising due to grid-hardening processes but capacity is lacking.
The company also says it sees opportunities for green projects under US President Joe Biden’s stimulus measures through interconnections of local solar and wind farm electricity production to larger grids.
—With assistance from Chiara Remondini.
(Updates with shares in sixth paragraph.)