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Luca Zorzi, the “King of pipes” - The top manager from Lecco is a CEO of TMK Italia and a managing director of TMK Europe




Luca Zorzi, the “King of pipes”

The top manager from Lecco is a CEO of TMK Italia and a managing director of TMK Europe.

He is the CEO of TMK Italia and makes part of top management of a Russian TMK Group, a private giant listed on the Moscow Stock Exchange specializing in production of seamless steel tubes that in 2019 has achieved revenues of 4.8 billion dollars, EBITDA of 680 million and has 6 production plants with about 60.000 employees. An international holding that sells in more than 80 countries and that some weeks ago, on March 9th, announced the purchase of Chel Pipe, its principal Russian competitor, thus becoming the first group of the world as pipe production capacity. A Russian giant controls TMK ARTROM, a Romanian company specialized in production of seamless pipes, TMK Resita, a Romanian steel plant that uses recycled material for 98%, commercial companies TMK Europe from Düsseldorf and TMK Italia.

Luca Zorzi, the “King of pipes”

Luca Zorzi, 52 years old, from Lecco, in addition to being CEO of TMK Italia and a managing director of TMK Europe, is also a responsible for the European sales of the Russian group. A strategic division for the head-quarter that has about 2.000 employees and that in 2019 had a turnover of 240 million and achieved EBITDA of 19.7 million by production of 188 thousand tons of seamless pipes. So, a real “King of pipes”. “I have always been in this branch and I am the third generation – begins the top manager from Lecco – my grandfather Arturo was a manager of Falck, my father Elio started his carrier at Celestri of Lecco and I followed their footsteps. I started as an agent, then I became an exclusive representative of ARTROM, a state Romanian company further purchased by TMK. I started to collaborate with the Russian group in 2002 and gradually I managed to gain their trust up to becoming in 2007 a CEO of an Italian commercial division and then a managing director of TMK Europe”.

How did he managed to gain the Russians becoming a top manager of the giant TMK?

«The Russians like Italy, they observe very attentively our lifestyle, they are attracted by our food and wine in generally, they pass willingly vacations in our beautiful country…All this helps but it’s not enough”.

Competence and professionalism are needed…

«I am used to let the numbers talk. When there are the results it is easier to gain their trust and once you gain their trust it is like joining a family. Yes, I consider myself like a part of the family TMK. We got to know each other, understood each other, accepted each other also thanks to a sincere relationship we grew up reciprocally.

Are there the differences between Russian and Italian companies?

«The rules of big companies are rather similar. TMK pays a great attention to the communities where they operate, a social responsibility is not only a slogan for them; the company is very connected to its coworkers and one of the brilliant initiatives that were created by them is a Corporate University: they organize online courses where many managers bring their contribution and initiatives to keep the families of all employees connected.  At the mills there are schools where the group forms the tomorrow’s coworkers often involving the children of employees: those who wants it can take the place of the proper parent».

What is the principle market of European division of TMK?

«It’s Italy and it makes us honored: 53% of our production is aimed at mechanical and construction sectors, 36% - at energy and oil&gas sector while the rest is aimed at automotive and earth moving machines».

How was the work in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic?

«It was a difficult year, it was not easy for us to adjust ourselves to health safety norms but we managed to do it and we haven’t done neither an hour of layoffs: we have asked for it but we didn’t proceed with it. Then we had to confront the lockdown and the markets: the German one was blocked as they had the stock houses full while we continued to work with Italian market where the companies principally work in just in time manner. Whereas there was a very nice recovery in the second half of the year.».

What is the prospective for 2021?

«I don’t have a crystal ball: everything is very unpredictable, everything is changing very fast, it is really difficult to make any forecast. As TMK we are rather assured and calm, the deliveries of our seamless pipes occur on average of 90 days».

During these last months the price of raw material had a significant growth, including the steel. Why?

«The scrap material today sails about 450 dollars per ton while in 2020 it was about 250 dollars. It happened also because China had cut the production in order to respect the levels of pollution but it cornered the raw material – especially from Turkey – also for upraising of internal request that forced Russia to put duties on export of its raw material. As a consequence, the price was raised but it is not a speculation or at least it is not just that. In the last two years production costs didn’t allow the mills to go forward, they didn’t manage to cover the production costs. From December 2020 the scrap material started to raise and the same happened to the final product, coils, pipes etc. meanwhile allowing the mills to optimize production costs».

In our country there is a lot of discussions about Ilva of Taranto, the biggest European industrial complex of steel production, with a troubled story behind it for the pollution problems as well. As an authorized person what do you think about it?

«The health of the citizen should be an absolute priority but Ilva is an excellent historical strategical reality and it is so important that it is worth to be saved.  It is the first steel plant in Europe, we can’t lose it. But this case was managed in a bad way. The level of pollution can and must be reduced. To shut down Ilva means to go and get suppliers from other countries making them rich at the expense of Italy».

Is it possible to produce steel without polluting?

«Without polluting is impossible but the parameters that were imposed by Europe can be respected without any problem. We did it in Romania with steel plant TMK Resita and pipe plant TMK ARTROM investing much money, for example, for recycling water in order to re-use it in production cycles just to guarantee the development and health of employees and of the society where we operate. The group pays much attention to the security of working sites, to the environmental issues and to the quality of its products».

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