Natuzzi S.p.A. (NYSE: NTZ) announced today that an agreement to launch the restructuring plan for the Group’s industrial structure in Italy (hereafter, the “Plan ”) was signed yesterday in Rome by the company, local institutions, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the trade union organisations, under the supervision of the Minister of Economic Development and the Minister of Labour.
The agreement enshrines the main goals included in the Plan announced in July 2013, and represents the starting point for a shared roadmap towards the recovery of the Group’s competitiveness in Italy, based on a significant reduction in production costs and increases in productivity, investments and changes to the company’s workforce.
The agreement entails the closure of two of the company’s manufacturing plants in Italy, increasing the efficiency of the production cycle, reviewing the company’s procurement and delivery processes to streamline logistics, and continuing to automate leather-cutting operations, expanding moving production lines and implementing other rationalization initiatives.
The agreement also proposes an investment plan, which calls for investments by the company over the next five years aimed at further developing the Natuzzi Italia brand and safeguarding Italian production. Investments will be made in marketing, communications and the expansion of distribution networks in emerging markets. Investments will also fund innovation in the company’s products, logistics and production processes and staff training.In terms of the company’s workforce, the agreement envisages that the number of redundant employees subject to future layoffs will be reduced from 1,726 employees to 1,506, reflecting a commitment to the potential, gradual reabsorption of up to 200 manufacturing employees for the production of recliners and up to 20 corporate employees. Due to the complexity of the measures envisioned by the Plan and in order to better manage workforce reductions, the company and the trade unions obtained a one-year extension, beginning on 16 th October 2013, of the company’s participation in the Cassa Integrazione Guadagni Straordinaria. Under this program, government funds cover the substantial majority of the salaries of redundant workers. During the period covered by the CIGS program, expiring in October 2014, Natuzzi, the trade unions and other parties to the agreement have agreed on several initiatives to help manage the redundant workers and to promote the re-industrialisation of the upholstered furniture district in Puglia and Basilicata: