Growing Italy’s small businesses
Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is a leading CEB borrower in Italy. Info met Antonella Baldino, Chief Business Officer at CDP, to learn more about the institution’s work.
Info: With CEB’s €150 million programme loan, CDP supports the goals of Plafond Beni Strumentali, an anti-crisis measure set up by the Ministry of Economic Development to boost economic growth. What are some of the specifics of this programme?
Antonella Baldino: Plafond Beni Strumentali represents the first Italian experience of a single, organic, instrument that combines Ministry of Economic Development support, funding made available by CDP and loans provided by the financial system. The leverage effect of deployed public funds maximises the use of private resources in support of the initiative. The programme allows micro-, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) to access financing from the financial system in order to acquire new machinery, equipment, capital goods and business equipment for productive use, as well as hardware, software and digital technologies. MSMEs receive a contribution, from the Ministry, to offset part of the interest charges on the investment financing. Since the start-up phase of the instrument, CDP has provided financing at controlled conditions and covered a pivotal role between the Ministry and the Financial System with its territorial network.
Info: What has been the impact of Plafond Beni Strumentali since its operational start in 2014?
Antonella Baldino: The Plafond represents a success for Italy, demonstrating that good coordination between involved stakeholders can ensure speed and efficiency, even when managing complex support measures. This is validated by the figures: since 2014 financings have amounted to approximately €5.5 billion in favour of over 21,000 MSMEs, with about €423 million in interest rate contributions from the Ministry.
Looking back on the last decade in Italy, one cannot recall a public incentive measure with such significant results, moreover, achieved in the current difficult phase of the economic cycle.
The Plafond Beni Strumentali is part of a wider group of CDP’s dedicated economic support programmes through which we have allocated about €70 billion since 2009 in support of MSMEs, the environment, areas struck by earthquakes, home ownership and energy efficiency measures. These CDP instruments have captured and supported an altogether weak investment propensity observed in recent years.
Info: Support to MSMEs has long been one of the CEB’s priorities. How would you assess the two institutions’ collaboration in this sector so far?
Antonella Baldino: The Plafond Beni Strumentali has represented the first cooperation between the two institutions and enables CDP to keep the economic conditions of the Plafond as low as possible, with positive effects for investment initiatives and for employment at smaller Italian enterprises. The excellent cooperation tested with this operation has already allowed us to pave the way for new common projects, and our respective services have engaged with a view to provide continued support to MSMEs as well as to the territories of central Italy hit by the recent seismic events.