Sace has boosted support for the internationalisation of Italian SMEs with access to a new €350mn debt fund.

Alessandra Ricci, director, business area at Sace, says to GTR: “This is just our latest initiative to support the capitalisation of companies, particularly urgent in a time of credit crunch. Improving access to funding for SMEs has always been a key focus of our business, alongside export credit and investment protection.”

The new debt fund, Sviluppo Export, will subscribe bonds issued by unlisted businesses pursuing exports and international development.

It will be managed by Amundi Sgr and has a total capacity of €350mn, which will be invested in secured or unsecured, fixed or floating, amortising or bullet notes.

The Italian credit insurer’s aim is to support exporters by facilitating the development of alternative sources of financing, such as bonds.

Sace has entered into several memorandums of understanding with other funds and is considering further partnerships in the debt capital market.

In 2013, Sace guaranteed €360mn of new funding to support growth and internationalisation of Italian companies (85% in favour of SMEs). Since 2005, Sace has made 3,200 guarantees, amounting to €2.9bn.

“After an almost stagnant performance in 2013 (-0.1%), Italian exports are expected to resume on a growth path, with an average growth rate, over the four-year period, of 7.3%,” Ricci says to GTR.

Growth forecast

Commenting on which countries Sace has forecast as being the biggest growth areas, Ricci says: “In spite of increasing volatility, emerging markets shall remain our key target in the medium to long-term.”

A recent study by Sace’s economic research department highlights a selection of emerging markets with low risk levels (Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Peru) or medium, but gradually improving, risk levels (Algeria, Colombia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Turkey) that may offer a potential of €38.5bn for Italian exports over the next two years: €19bn could be generated by Poland and China (representing alone 50% of the potential recovery ), €8.8bn by India and €5.5bn by Turkey and Algeria.

Highlighting which industries will perform best moving forward, Ricci adds: “We expect the best growth performance to be realised by most top-quality Italian exports: on the one hand, traditional products like agricultural goods and foodstuffs and, on the other hand, medium to high technology goods like machinery.”