Unicredit has launched a private equity platform to invest in Italian SMEs with a fire power of up to 2 billion euros (see the press release here). The initiative will be implemented first in the Italian market and could then be extended to other markets where Unicredit is present, such as Germany and Central-Eastern Europe.
In detail, Unicredit will invest 200 million euros in the platform, of which it will be institutional sponsor and anchor investor. Italian and international investment funds and development agencies have already made commitments that will bring the total committement of the initiative to a total of 2 billion euros.
The bank will make a first selection of the most interesting SMEs, which it will then propose to investors. The latter can choose which companies to invest from time to time. An ad hoc special purpose veichle will then be established for each individual investment, with its management team who will be external to Unicredit and will be the expression of new investors. The managers will include Italian and international investors, all with a strong experience and presence on the Italian market. During 2019, between 3 and 5 transactions could be concluded. The investments will be minorities with a time horizon of 5-7 years, longer than that of the typical private equity instruments and at the same time strategic advice and support in business development will be provided.
Andrea Casini, Unicredit’s co-ceo commercial banking Italy, explained: “This initiative is aimed primarily at the approximately 4,500 SMEs that have the best performance.” The platform is in fact dedicated to companies in the Italian manufacturing sectors of excellence, including industrial, aerospace, packaging, pharmaceutical, design, food technologies, and will focus on companies looking for capital to accelerate their medium-long term expansion plans.