At the beginning of this week Kedrion announced that the Italian government had contributed 150 million euros to the company in return for 18.6 % ownership. This is very important for the company in many ways. First of all, it ensures that they will have access to capital for its growing U.S. operations as well as for its other international ventures. But it is also a real gesture of approval and confidence on behalf of the Italian government headed by its current Primer Minister, the brilliant economist Mario Monti.
This must be a crowning moment for the Marcucci Family, especially for its founder, the indomitable Guelfo Marcucci. I have always admired Guelfo immensely. He started off making cardboard boxes in the province of Lucca, he worked in a bakery in Chicago, and then created Kedrion back in Italy. I am honored to say that I worked for him and I consider him a dear friend.