Multinational business and host countries in times of crisis: Courtaulds, Glanzstoff, and Italy in the inter-war period

Cerretano, V. (2018) Multinational business and host countries in times of crisis: Courtaulds, Glanzstoff, and Italy in the inter-war period. Economic History Review, 71(2), pp. 540-566. (doi: 10.1111/ehr.12469)

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Despite the considerable attention granted to the history of international business, we still have a limited knowledge of the historical impact of multinationals on host economies. This article presents the case of the giant Italian rayon firm Snia Viscosa which was acquired by its direct rivals, Courtaulds in the UK and the German firm Glanzstoff, in 1927. Italian deflation that underpinned the return of the country to the gold standard between 1925 and 1927 and the parlous financial conditions of Snia Viscosa proved incentives in what seemed to be a fire sale investment. This investment mitigated the credit crunch and allowed Snia Viscosa to have access to foreign rayon expertise. Evidence suggests that the regime and economic nationalism exerted some pressure on foreign interests and were instrumental in the abandonment of plans intended dramatically to reduce Italian rayon output. One contribution of this article must be found in the use of business history to illustrate how recessions can reshape FDI flows and the tensions which may arise between domestic business interests and foreign stakeholders during recessions. The history of Snia Viscosa in addition shows the importance of foreign interests and multinationals in the long-term industrialisation of Italy.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cerretano, Dr Valerio
Authors: Cerretano, V.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Economic History Review
ISSN (Online):1468-0289
Published Online:02 May 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Economic History Society
First Published:First published in Economic History Review 71(2): 540-566
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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