The Bergamo-based company established its foothold in the racing world 40 years ago. Since then, Brembo has expanded its customer base by supplying braking systems for car manufacturers such as Ferrari SpA and Porsche SE, a business that has made the company’s chairman, Alberto Bombassei, a billionaire.
Demand for the high performance vehicles it equipps has helped Brembo’s share price double in the last year. Revenue increased 11 % to 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in 2012. Bombassei controls 53.5 percent of Brembo and has a net worth of $1.2 billion.
“One of Brembo’s greatest fortunes has been the opportunity to enter the world of racing in 1975, when the company started to supply Ferrari in Formula One,” Bombassei said in an interview. “This has enabled Brembo over the years to test on the track new technological solutions, which over time have been transferred to road cars and bikes.”
The billionaire’s stake in the brake manufacturer is controlled through the family’s holding company, Nuova Fourb Srl, whose shares are held in equal proportion under the names of Bombassei’s two children, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The stake is credited to Bombassei because the 73-year-old and his wife still receive the income from 80 % of the shares. As patriarch and chairman, the billionaire also retains effective control of the family business.
Brembo was founded by Bombassei’s father, Emilio, and Italo Breda in 1961, when the partners established a workshop making spare parts for vehicles. Their breakthrough came in 1975, when Enzo Ferrari asked the company to equip his F1 racing cars.