SIMEST, a company of the Italian export and internationalisation hub of the CDP Group, ends its 25th year of operations with a record volume of resources mobilised and managed to support the internationalisation and exports of Italian companies: €6,134 million, up 14% on 2015. This is the picture painted in the draft 2016 financial statements approved by the company’s Board of Directors, underscoring the fact that the increase in activity was posted in both SIMEST business lines: support for internationalisation and support for exports.
Support for internationalisation
Thanks to loans, equity investments and grants of €326 million (+21% compared with 2015), SIMEST helped activate over €1 billion of new investments by Italian firms.
- Loans for internationalisation: 188 soft loans were approved in the total amount of €93 million (+7% compared with 2015), which will enable the beneficiary companies to activate more than €130 million in investments.85% of the resources, which are managed by SIMEST on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Development, went to support the internationalisation of small and medium-sized enterprises, confirming SIMEST's vocation to support SMEs. The firms involved are planning investments in about 40 countries, including the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
2. Equity investments. SIMEST closed 2016 with a record volume of direct investments: €103 million (+4% compared with 2015), with over €950 million in investments facilitated. The main areas where initiatives are planned are the Americas and Asia, with an emphasis on the United States, Brazil and China. The level of activity in Italy in support of internationalisation programmes remains significant: the target areas for these initiatives were the Asian and Middle Eastern markets, notably China, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India. The main sectors in which the companies that became SIMEST partners in 2016 operate are: electrical and mechanical engineering, food and agriculture, and energy.
Support for exports
In 2016 SIMEST approved 64 export finance transactions totalling €5,808 million (+13% compared with 2015), which helped finance export credits of almost €7 billion. The support consisted of interest rate subsidies in transactions of which 96% were guaranteed by SACE. The destination countries include the United Kingdom, Oman, the United States, Cameroon, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil. The main sectors involved were shipbuilding, petrochemicals, infrastructure, mechanical engineering, energy, machinery and the aeronautical industry. Thanks to operations in 2016, there are now 1,174 companies that have partnered with SIMEST to find an answer to their international growth needs in about 100 countries.
Main events and performance in 2016
The export and internationalisation hub. The end of last year saw the completion of the integration between SACE and SIMEST envisaged in the Business Plan of Cassa depositi e prestiti and the export and Internationalisation hub of the CDP Group was born. It groups together the entire range of tools for companies that want to grow by expanding to international markets. This system is unique in Europe, representing an advantage for Italian companies to be exploited in global competition.
Creating jobs. The creation of the hub will help boost the effectiveness of SIMEST’s activities to support the dimensional growth of its Italian partner companies and – consequently - to support the creation/maintenance of jobs in Italy: in fact, a study conducted by Ernst & Young in 2016 highlighted how SIMEST’s investment activity between 2005 and 2014 contributed to the creation in Italy of almost 20,000 new jobs a year.
More attractive financing. In 2016, SIMEST launched a process to improve the instruments available to support firms. One initial result was a reform proposed by SIMEST to the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry for the Economy and Finance ‑ which became operational at the end of October – enabling companies to obtain financing at lower costs, with fewer guarantees and with faster response times.
Profit more than doubled. On the performance front, in 2016 SIMEST reduced the costs of managing public funds borne by the State to a record low. Thanks to these efficiency gains and the improved overall performance of its investments, profit reached €11 million, compared with €4 million in 2015.
SIMEST: KEY FIGURES 2016/2015
FUNDS MOBILISED AND MANAGED (€ millions)
Soft loans for internationalisation
Direct SIMEST equity investments
Venture Capital Fund equity investments
Grants for equity investments
TOTAL FOR INTERNATIONALISATION
Export credit support
TOTAL FOR EXPORTS
FINANCIAL AND PERFORMANCE FIGURES (€ millions)
Portfolio under management
Net profit for the year
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SIMEST is part of the CDP Group, 76% owned by SACE, with leading Italian banks and trade associations among its other investors. SIMEST and SACE form the export and internationalisation hub of the CDP Group, which offers the entire range of financial instruments to support Italian companies interested in competing and expanding internationally. In particular, SIMEST supports companies throughout their entire international development process, providing soft loans for internationalisation, export credit support and equity investments.