More than 2,000 Tuscan businesses have the right identikit to attract capitals from institutional investors. It is stated in a recent study conducted by the Cerved Group, an Italian leading company in business information, that wanted to photograph the texture of Italian business that are not quoted on the Stock Market, one year after the introduction of the new norms regarding the access of small and medium businesses to direct financing through bonds. In 2012, the strong difficulties faced by many businesses, even those with solid financial requisites, to obtain bank loans to support normal business activities or new investments pushed the Italian government to introduce norms that would facilitate the emission of debt instruments for businesses not quoted on the stock market: the so-called “mini-bonds”, this is the name assigned to the emission of bonds by SME’s, should have reduced the dependence of Italian businesses from credit institutions and open the road for new types of financing. Simultaneously, the intitiative aimed at creating a new asset class that would allow professional financial operators to “bet” on Italy and its vivacious fabric of medium businesses.
In twelve months, the mini-bond market has not yet taken off, but it has recently received a lot of interest related to the first placements that took place. According to the Cerved inquiry, indeed, the raw materials necessary to launch these operations are not in short supply: in fact, according to the findings, there are approximately 35,000 businesses in Italy that are apt to attract capitals through these instruments. Indeed, they have a turnover included between the 5 and 250 million Euros and are in “solvency”, or in a “secure” economic and financial situation, such that rating agencies can classify them as “investment grade”. At the national level, the majority of these SME’s generates a turnover of less than 50 million and, from a geographic perspective, more than half have their main offices in the North West and North East regions; more specifically in Lombardy (11,000 businesses), in the Veneto Region (4,600) and Emilia-Romagna (nearly 4,000) Regions.
Throughout the rest of Italy, Tuscany stands out with 2,345 businesses with a turnover in excess of 5 million and equipped with a rating that is attractive to institutional investors: the path of mini-bond to finance development and internationalization by making recourse to the capital markets rather than to the bank financing is therefore pursuable by approximately 69% of the Region’s business whose turnover exceeds 5 million. As for sectors, the services is the one that envelops the largest number of “investment grade” businesses at the national level (16,000): the majority of these works in distribution or financial services, but there is also a wide segment of businesses in logistics and transportation. In the industrial sector, which counts nearly 14,000 businesses, the most significant segments are electromechanical, broad consumption and fashion. The energy and utilities and constructions sectors are also significant, with 2,200 and 2,300 businesses, respectively.