SocietÓ Commerciale d'Oriente (Comor; Eastern Trading Company) was founded in Geneva in 1907. In accordance with the second of its Articles of Association, the company's activities would consist of "promoting, creating and running - both directly and through third parties, and thus giving and receiving shares of any sort in other Italian and foreign businesses and firms - banking, commercial and industrial companies in general, in the East and in Italy's colonies, not excluding the power to pursue, if necessary, its corporate purpose both in Italy and in other countries" (Article of Association 1920, in Cart. 1).
The company moved its headquarters to Milan in November 1912, opening branches in Istanbul, Tripoli, Venice, Bari, Bar, Podgorica, ShkodŰr and DurrŰs. Richard A. Webster has defined Comor's Istanbul branch as Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI)'s first international branch (see bibliography) and it can indeed be considered as such.
It is important to note the importance of the diplomatic negotiations engaged in by BCI and Comor, especially in the years leading up to World War I; these are revealed through the dense, confidential correspondence between Otto Joel, the co-founder of Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI), and Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonino di San Giuliano.
Comor promoted the financing of facilities and infrastructural projects throughout the Eastern Mediterranean region, including railways, mines, power plants and shipping companies. The company also acquired licenses to coal mines in the Heraclea region on the Black Sea; these were overseen by the engineer Bernardino Nogara, who also acted as an advisor to the Ottoman Public Debt Administration. In the second half of the 1920s Comor played an important role in the building of railway networks in Anatolia, such as the Trans-Iranian railway linking eastern Turkey with Teheran; it also provided major funding for railway lines in central Turkey in the same period.
In the early 1930s Comor was among the holding companies with stakes in BCI and other related companies, and was involved in the so-called "Operazione Sofindit" and the rescue of BCI.
Angelo Caleca, A servizio dell'Italia e del Papa. Le tante vite di Bernardino Nogara (1870-1958), UniversitÓ degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, 2011-2012
Andrea Filippo Saba, La SocietÓ Commerciale d'Oriente entre la diversificaciˇn y la situaciˇn estratÚgica internacional (1902-1935), in "Informaciˇn Comercial Espa˝ola", n. 812, Enero 2004, pp. 137-152
Marta Petricioli, L'Italia in Asia Minore. Equilibrio mediterraneo e ambizioni imperialiste alla vigilia della prima guerra mondiale, Sansoni, Firenze, 1983
Richard A. Webster, L'imperialismo industriale italiano, 1908-1915. Studio sul prefascismo, Einaudi, Torino, 1974