The last ten days have seen a veritable avalanche of so-called minibonds issued by Italian SMEs on the tables of investors. In many cases, issuers were companies in the food sector. About half of the issues were underwritten in private placements by one or two institutional investors and some were listed on the ExtraMot Pro3 market. Just take a tour in our Private Debt section to realize how many articles we have written in recent weeks. Today you find four, we wrote four more on Friday 20 December, while we wrote four more between Monday and Thursday last week. Not to mention that two direct lending deals signed by specialized funds that have also been seen in these days. And yet we have not looked at what has happened in the meantime on the fintech lending and invoice financing platforms yer, but even there we know that the activity is booming.
All this is to underline what we all know by now and that is that traditional financial markets offer yields that are so risky as to convince more and more investors to move on alternative investments, less liquid but much more profitable. Coupons of 4-5%, but also beyond, paid by Italian SMEs even for one-year maturities are extremely attractive in a world in which the 2-year BTPs have negative yields, especially since the credit risk of the issuing SMEs is relatively low on average. BeBeez News Premium subscribers will soon be able to consult BeBeez’s preliminary report on 2019 private debt transactions (find out how to subscribe for only 20 euros per month) while BeBeez Private Data subscribers can already get an idea, considering that the database is updated with a time lag of about a week (find out how to subscribe for only 110 euros per month).
Considering also the issues of the last ten days, today 149 private debt issues have been counted since the beginning of the year for a total value of approximately 4.9 billion euros. Of this total, 14 issues were over 100 million, for a total of just under 4.2 billion euros, an important number, but much less than what was seen in 2018, when 17 issues raised 7.9 billion euros. Then, in 2018 there were 3 medium-sized issues between 50 and 100 million for a total of 196 million, while in 2019 there were no medium-sized issues. As for issues from 50 million downwards, what can be called “real minibonds”, these were 135 this year, therefore far more than the 105 emissions counted in 2018, which had brought SMEs over 645 million euros. In 2019 those 135 minibonds raised 715 million euros.