Sace and Italy’s Banca Popolare dell’ Emilia Romagna (BPER) have signed a €100mn short-term financing agreement to meet the working capital needs of small Italian exporters.

The financial institutions have reserved €30mn of the facility for businesses affected by the May earthquake in the northern region of Emilia Romana, to finance the reconstruction of damaged facilities and restore production activities.

These companies will also benefit from advantageous interest rates and the ability to pay the premium charged by Sace at final maturity, rather than at delivery.

The remaining €70mn will be targeted at BPER’s business customers.

Each loan will have to be for a minimum of €50,000 and a maximum of 18 months, and will be extended through BPER’s short-term products, with up to 70% of the amount insured by Sace.

Raoul Ascari, chief operating officer of Sace, says: “In the context of a crisis that will last much longer, and in a framework that sees the best opportunities come from emerging economies, exports and internationalisation are necessary for our companies.

“The agreement signed with BPER strengthens our support to the programmes of international development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the segment most affected by difficulties of access to credit.”