Puglia Basket Bond: 150 million programme for new finance for 39 SMEs completed

Puglia Basket Bond: 150 million programme for new finance for 39 SMEs completed

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti among the institutional investors, together with Mediocredito Centrale and UniCredit as originator and arranger, in support of the Region's project


With issues by 39 small and medium-sized enterprises for a total of 150 million euros, the Basket Bond programme dedicated to local companies, which sees Cassa Depositi e Prestiti as an institutional investor, is completed. An initiative, launched in 2019, which reaches its completion with the latest issues involving 12 companies for a value of around €40 million.

These figures demonstrate the effectiveness of the instrument which, for the first time in Puglia and among the first examples in Italy, allowed smaller companies to access the capital market through bond loans. In this way, thanks also to public intervention, SMEs have been able to use alternative forms of financing to innovate, expand and become more competitive.

The programme is the result of collaboration between several organisations. The Fund, created on the initiative of the Region of Puglia, is managed by the regional financial company Puglia Sviluppo, which provides a portfolio guarantee equal to 25% of the total issues, with UniCredit as originator and arranger, and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Mediocredito Centrale as institutional investors providing financial support to the projects.

The latest operations involved companies active in multiple sectors: from clothing to logistics services, from the development and organisation of sales networks to tourist accommodation, from the promotion of electric vehicles to the development of software. In detail, these are Airon (Barletta); Zero & Company (Terlizzi); Levante Logistica (Modugno); Distilleria Bartin (Mottola); Mana (Monopoli); Stante Logistics (Modugno); Ilog & T (Modugno); Apulia Hotel (Castellana Grotte); T&M Logistica Integrata (Modugno); Dom.Pla (Altamura); Omnitech (Modugno); Sidea Group (Fasano).

The minibonds will enable companies to finance extraordinary interventions, investments and working capital. The operation was made possible thanks to a volume of public funds of almost €40 million, used as a portfolio guarantee provided by the regional financing company.

“The increasingly widespread diffusion of Basket Bonds is the best and most obvious proof that alternative finance is a consolidated tool capable of effectively supporting dynamic and innovative companies such as those in Puglia. The recently completed programme, the result of a joint effort between the public administration, institutional investors and the banking system, demonstrates how diversifying sources of finance is a key success factor for companies with ambitious growth plans, both nationally and internationally", commented Andrea Nuzzi, Head of Corporate and Financial Institutions at CDP. "This initiative is another important part of CDP's strategy to actively support Southern Italy".


The projects of the companies

Airon Srl specialises in the mass production of clothing in Barletta. With a Minibond of €2.2 million, it is investing in the same city in a business development project that will lead to the development of the "Markup" and "Urban Ring" brands in three years' time. To achieve these innovations, the company will focus on the creative input of designers and professionals, as well as collaboration with the raw material supplier.

Zero & Company Srl, a clothing manufacturing company based in Terlizzi (Bari), decided to invest €3.2 million in a Minibond in order to strengthen its two lines of business: the first is the development of a production and logistics infrastructure equipped with technologies to improve the traceability of raw materials and packaged garments; the other is the development of a software infrastructure that will enable it to enhance its B2B capabilities.

Levante Logistica Srl, with registered office in Bari, provides logistical services for the distribution of goods and will use a €2.2 million Minibond to set up a new production unit in Modugno and construct an office and warehouse building. The company plans to study and develop a Digital Twin of the Organisation (DTO) to improve business processes by providing a transparent vision and automating management actions to address existing and future risks.

Distilleria Bartin Srl of Bari is investing €6.4 million in Mottola to improve the existing production cycle both qualitatively and quantitatively. The process innovation, combined with the application of an innovative treatment of the incoming matrices, will maximise the yield of current products such as grape seeds, grappa, raw alcohol and the waste disposal service. The investment will also allow them to expand their product range with the launch of “Alcool Buongusto”.

Mana Srl, a Bari-based company that develops retail networks for international brands, invests in Monopoli with a €2 million Minibond. The company's aim is to manage and coordinate a business model that will be adopted through precise commercial agreements with leading brands in the clothing sector and to follow the subsequent phases, such as location scouting; identifying the optimal location; staff recruitment and training activities. The company's development plan includes the creation of a database of loyal customers, managed by sophisticated software.

Stante Logistics Spa, a transport and logistics company based in Modugno, is planning to invest a Minibond of €5.3 million in the expansion of its current operational head office, creating a new covered logistics area of 7,500 square metres. The intervention will allow Stante Logistics to double the area dedicated to third-party warehousing. The new area will be equipped with shelving and material handling systems using the latest 4.0 technologies. The objectives set by the company are supported by R&D and innovation projects, as well as by specific actions for the internationalisation of the company.

Ilog & T Srl, a Milan-based company that manages logistics services for the distribution of goods, is carrying out projects in Modugno and Corato with a €6.4 million Minibond. The investment consists of the construction of a new production unit in the Modugno Industrial Development Area (ASI) and the expansion of the local unit in Corato to improve the performance of logistics activities. With regard to investment in industrial research and experimental development, the company intends to invest in logistics solutions capable of improving the management of the automated warehouse in the processes of receiving, storing and picking goods.

Apulia Hotel Srl, a company based in Foggia that manages tourist accommodation facilities, will use the €2 million Minibond to finance the construction of new accommodation through the acquisition of the Hotel Semiramide in Castellana Grotte; the shareholding of the company Città Bianca Srl; the Hotel Resort Città Bianca in Ostuni. Once the property has been acquired, the buildings will be modernised and adapted to increase their commercial potential.

T&M Logistica Integrata Srl, a Rome-based company that provides logistics services for the distribution of goods, will invest in Modugno with a €3.2 million Minibond. The proposed industrial project will allow the construction of a new factory in the Asi area of Modugno, which will be used to build an automated warehouse equipped with innovative technological and IT infrastructures to improve operational procedures by automating some phases of the process. The company also plans to invest in industrial research and experimental development and in innovation.

Dom. Pla Srl, a company from Altamura operating in the road haulage sector, is investing in the creation of an operational and management centre, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at its headquarters in Altamura, through a €2 million Minibond. The aim is to create and develop a control centre for the management of all transport activities and the management of complex tenders involving the acquisition of goods and their widespread distribution. The company also plans to invest in the growth of its cleaning services activities and in the acquisition of companies operating in the reference sector or in related sectors.

Omnitech Srl from Modugno, with a Minibond of €2 million, is planning to expand its machine and equipment rental business by promoting the use of electric vehicles to public bodies and public companies for the transport of tools used for street cleaning and urban hygiene services in general.

Sidea Group Srl, a Fasano company operating in the ICT sector, plans to invest in Bari and Fasano in software development, the acquisition of patents and expenses related to the launch of the "Deep Rfm Analytics" product. The company also intends to join the "supported by Gartner" plan, an internal skills development programme based on publications, research and best practices that Gartner Inc. (a world leader in strategic consulting) will provide directly to Sidea Group. In addition to the acquisition of this platform, the company plans to make further investments to add other innovative technology solutions to its portfolio.


How the tool worked

To access the Puglia Region minibonds, interested companies submitted applications to Puglia Sviluppo, which assessed the requirements and the investment plan and carried out all the other checks required by the procedure. UniCredit, together with the institutional investors represented by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Mediocredito Centrale, carried out a company and investment merit analysis and then defined the overall portfolio of suitable companies. The arranger fully underwrote the bond loan and subsequently placed the minibonds with institutional and professional investors through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in a securitisation transaction. Companies received between €2 million and €10 million, depending on the amount of the minibond issued, to be invested in tangible or intangible assets, as well as support for working capital linked to the investments to be made.