Andrea Ferrario Bdrqdvj0tea Unsplash

Mobilising €1 billion in minibonds

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We passed a major minibond milestone during the year, with €1 billion worth now issued in favour of SMEs across Italy – confirming our leadership of the country’s capital market and our strengths in the SME sector.

In total, we have now structured 174 minibonds to support the development plans and investments of 160 Italian SMEs since we first became active in this market in 2017. In terms of the number of minibonds, our stable market share now stands in excess of 18%.

2023 saw us issue 16 bonds for a volume close to €100 million. The latest transaction was concluded as the year approached its end, in favour of Tregenplast, a Lombardy-based company operating in the ecological recovery sector. Tregenplast issued a €4 million ESG minibond, fully subscribed by UniCredit and guaranteed by the Guarantee Fund for SMEs, managed by Mediocredito Centrale (MCC) on behalf of the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy. ESG has become increasingly important in recent years, starting with the first ESG minibond issued in 2020 – and 81.3% of the 2023 transactions incorporated sustainability objectives.

The advantages of minibonds for businesses are clear, because they allow them to obtain long-term funding and enjoy greater credit stability. Not surprisingly, minibonds are increasing in popularity.  Bankitalia data shows that at the beginning of 2012 almost 80% of the financial debt of Italian companies was represented by bank credit, with the use of bonds only 8%. In contrast, at the end of 2022 these figures were 65% and 14% respectively.

21% of the 174 minibond issues handled by UniCredit involved companies in the Food & Beverage sector. The Telecom & IT, Consumer Goods and Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals sectors also accounted for a significant percentage of bond issues, together with Services, Agriculture and Textiles.

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In this phase of our country's economy, it is important to add the instrument of minibonds to the traditional support of the real economy, which allows SMEs to approach the capital market, diversifying their sources of funding. Over the past few years, the advantages for businesses of using this instrument, which allows them to obtain long-term funding and have greater credit stability, have become increasingly evident. This is another reason why Italian companies are increasingly turning to the use of minibonds, which is also a sign of the growing financial maturity of our SMEs. The process of issuing minibonds allows companies to familiarise themselves with the dynamics and regulations of the capital market, and represents a message of solidity to the market for SMEs, thanks to the support they can receive from major institutional investors. Precisely for this reason, as UniCredit we continue to develop this support tool for Italian SMEs, also with innovative formulas and thanks to partnerships with important institutional players'.”

Remo Taricani

Deputy Head of Italy UniCredit

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