Nearly 500 “Made in Tuscany” companies have all the right papers to gain access to the bond market. In other words, they have the necessary numbers to be able to design development plans that do not necessarily require credit from banks, and can instead look for support from new investors. This emerges from the CRIF Rating Agency’s (an Italian rating agency recognized at the European level) analysis of the potential of Italian companies in light of the new 2013 regulations that facilitated access to bond loans for small and medium sized businesses.

The “minibond”, this is the name given to the bond instrument made available to these businesses. It is an important tool, as it supports the economy, especially in light of credit institution’s higher caution when considering loans for the development of businesses that are looking to acquisitions, international markets and potentiating production units. The new regulations brought about the birth of investment funds specialized in minibonds and, in 2014, 58 bond loans – each for sums inferior to 30 million, for a comprehensive sum of 480 million – were underwritten for businesses in Italy. The affirmation of this market and this opportunity for businesses with growth plans is just starting: CRIF Rating Agency estimates that nearly 8,000 Italian businesses – of which 482 in Tuscany – fulfill the prerequisites for presenting themselves to potential investors.

The investigation delineated the ideal configuration necessary to aspire to this type of support as a yearly turnover of at least 10 million Euro, a gross operating margin that was always in the positive over the past three years, and totaling at least 7% of the turnover. To these, one must consider the requisites for indebtedness, which cannot be too high compared to the company’s assets and its operational margin. Of the Tuscan companies with turnovers in excess of 10 million, 26% has these “qualities”. Proportions even higher than the regional average are recorded in the provinces of Massa-Carrara (41%), Lucca (32%), and Florence (29.7%).

“The survey we conducted focused its attention on a target of healthy, dynamic businesses that, despite an unfavorable economic context, continue to invest and to want to grow. A growth that, among other things, could generate a positive chain reaction of effects on many other companies in the industry and/or the reference sector – explains CRIF Rating Agency Director of marketing and Business Francesco Grande. Development plans and a business’ propensity for investments alone, however, are not enough to push the development of this new, important market segment, if they are not adequately flanked by a profound culture change by the businesses themselves and by investors.” 

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