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304. Building Italy for over a century

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Coop Name: CMB Carpi N° of Employees: 800
City: Carpi N° of Members: 1200
Country: Italy Year of formation: 1977
Website: http://www.cmbcarpi.it
About this coop:

One of Italy’s leading construction companies, working on hospitals, shopping centres, housing projects and large-scale infrastructure.

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From humble origins – CMB stands for Cooperativa Braccianti e Muratori, the cooperative of labourers and bricklayers, and Carpi is a small town in Emilia-Romagna – CMB Carpi has grown to become one of Italy’s top ten construction groups, building motorways, hospitals and shopping centres all over the country.

The original cooperatives, the Cooperativa Braccianti (labourers) and the Cooperativa Muratori (bricklayers) were founded in 1904 and 1908 respectively, after workers in the town of Carpi decided to organize themselves to overcome the economic crisis. After a few years of success, the cooperatives went through a difficult few decades. During the First World War, the young men who belonged to the cooperatives were sent to fight, and many did not return. Then the rise of fascism and resulting violence put the members and their premises at risk. In the years just before the Second World War, the cooperatives were working far from home, the Braccianti draining the Pontine Marshes near Rome and the Muratori working on military projects in Istria, Dalmatia and Albania.

Following the end of the war, the cooperatives’ prospects began looking up again. The Braccianti were active in post-war reconstruction, rebuilding roads and railways, especially in Abruzzo and Tuscany, while the Muratori dedicated itself to social housing projects and other third-party projects, including in Turin and Rome. In 1968, the two cooperatives were commissioned to work together on a section of the Fornovo-Pontremoli motorway, and then on viaducts for the Milan-Bologna railway line. The fruitful collaboration led to their official merging into CMB Carpi in 1977.

During the 1970s and ‘80s the cooperative broadened its horizons, working on numerous school and social building initiatives after it created its own prefabrication system. From the 1990s, CMB Carpi began favouring the development of large-scale initiatives in the hospital, commercial and large urban transformation sectors. The construction of the Corumana dam in Mozambique during this decade helped the cooperative prove itself on the large road and rail infrastructures market.

By now, CMB Carpi has 1,200 members and employs over 800 people. It heads a group of over 60 companies, including subsidiaries and associates and its headquarters in Carpi have been joined by two new offices in Milan and Rome. CMB Carpi’s strategic plan for the future entails maintaining the level of activity and growth achieved while expanding into foreign markets.

New hospitals in Modena, Milan and Ferrara, a prison in Trento, hotels at the Milan Fair and the modernization of the Verona, Venice and Mestre railways stations are just some of the construction projects CMB Carpi has been working on, as well as infrastructure works on Italy’s high-speed rail links, motorway extensions, the first section of the Florence tram and line C of Rome’s subway.

Despite this growth, the cooperative has not lost sight of its original values of solidarity, democracy and cooperation. CMB’s system of governance is based on the active participation of its members. Members take part in decision-making and executive processes, especially at the General Meeting of Members, which guarantees each member the possibility of making their own contribution.

Author of this story
Carla Ranicki
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