Count Francesco Matarazzo: Royalty in Life and in Business

Francesco Antonio Maria Matarazzo, Count Matarazzo (1854 – 1937) was a powerful Italian-Brazilian businessman and nobleman whose businesses in South America spanned several industries. Born in Salerno, Italy, he emigrated to Sao Paulo when he was 26 years old. He initially sold lottery tickets and oranges as well as shine shoes before reinventing his income into new ambitious businesses, which eventually included rubber, cotton, rice, coffee, corn, and tea.

He founded two companies, Matarazzo and Irmãos, and diversified his businesses. But the company was eventually dissolved, which he then replaced with Companhia Matarazzo SA with several minority stakeholders.

While the company encountered several difficulties, such as the war between Central American countries and Spain, he persevered. His business rapidly expanded into 365 manufacturing facilities across Brazil, which became the country’s fourth largest conglomerate.

In 1911, he renamed the company as Indústrias Reunidas Francisco Matarazzo (IRFM). He was such a powerful person in Brazil that it was said that whenever the Brazilian president visits Sao Paolo, he makes it a point to call upon Matarazzo first.

He was conferred the royal title of Count by King Victor Emmanuel of Italy for his material and monetary assistance to the country during World War I.

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