US asset manager Muzinich&Co’s Italian Private Debt fund has reached a first close at 156 million euros (download here the Italian press release). The fund is financing Italian small and midsize enterprises, docusing on socalled minibonds, i,e, mini-size bonds issued by non listed Italian SMEs. The fund focuses on providing companies with growth financing, particularly those wishing to grow their businesses through international expansion. For this investment vehicle Muzinich targets companies with revenues of 50-500 million euros and ebitda of at least 7.5 millions. It expects to provide companies with 5 to 7 year term financing in amounts of 10-20 millions.
Investors in the first closing of the new fund include a variety of Italian and non-Italian institutional entities, such as insurance companies, pension funds, banks and family offices. The fund expects to have an additional closing later in the year for which it has already received significant interest from potential investors.
The fund is a Luxembourg Scav-Sif that has been passported into Italy for sale to professional/qualified investors, it is completely independent in its decision making and is not affiliated with any bank or other financial institution. The fund is managed by a combined team of Italian investment professionals based in Milan and highly experienced private debt specialists based in London and New York.
Last January former head of Muzinich’s Italian Private Equity Debt program, Giuseppe Castagna, was nominated ceo of Banca Popolare di Milano. Castagna mantained an advisory relationship to Muzinich team. Italian members of the team are Bernardo Attolico, former partner of private equity operator Insec and former managing director of the Deutsche Bank investment banking division in Milan; Stefano Sostero, former member of the board of Crédit Agricole Private Equity and former investment director of private equity operator Cvc Capital Partners in Milan; and Eleonora Astori, former member of Goldman Sachs’ leveraged finance team in Londra.
Muzinich & Co. is researching other European markets, including the UK, for similar private debt opportunities and assessing institutional investor appetite for such investments.