Count Francesco Matarazzo
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|The Right Honourable
The Count Matarazzo
|Born||Francesco Antonio Maria Matarazzo
9 March 1854
Castellabate, Province of Salerno, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
|Died||10 December 1937
São Paulo, State of São Paulo, Brazil
Olga, Princess Giovanni Alliata of Montereale
Claudia Rispoli, Princess of Cerveteri
Francesco Matarazzo, Jr.
Don Francesco Antonio Maria Matarazzo, Count Matarazzo (March 9, 1854 in Castellabate – December 10, 1937 in São Paulo, Brazil), was an Italian-Brazilian businessman and noble who created a large business in South America, particularly in Brazil.
He was born in Castellabate, Salerno, Italy, the eldest of Doctor Costabile Matarazzo's nine sons, and Mariangela Jovane. At the age of 26, when Italian emigration to Brazil was widespread, he moved to the city of Sorocaba, São Paulo with his brothers, wife and children. Initially he sold oranges and lottery tickets and shined shoes, reinvesting the proceeds in new businesses, eventually including plantations of tea, coffee, corn, rice, rubber and cotton.
In 1890, he moved to São Paulo and with his brothers, Giuseppe and Luigi, founded Matarazzo and Irmãos. He diversified its business and imported wheat flour from the United States of America. Giuseppe took part in the company with a lard factory in Porto Alegre and Luigi with a deposit-warehouse in São Paulo.
The following year the company was dissolved and replaced by Companhia Matarazzo SA with 43 minority shareholders. This corporation also controlled the factories in Sorocaba and Porto Alegre.
War between Spain and Central American countries made it difficult buy wheat flour and he obtained credit from the London and Brazilian Bank to build a mill in São Paulo. From there, his business expanded rapidly to a total of 365 factories throughout Brazil. The conglomerate became the fourth largest in the country and 6% of the population depended on its factories in São Paulo. The business was renamed Indústrias Reunidas Francisco Matarazzo (IRFM) in 1911.
The Gestapo spy Hans Wesemann reported that:
An entire fleet sails under his flag. Tens of thousands of workers toil in his factories. He makes cement, cuts down trees and turns the pulp into paper, on which he prints his newspapers. The public drinks his beer and watches films in his cinemas. He contrives to be both wealthy and popular and when the president of Brazil visits Sao Paolo, he calls upon Matarazzo first.