Banca Progetto, a digital credit institution controlled since 2015 almost entirely by Oaktree Capital Management (through BPL Holdco sarl), and specialized in services for Italian SMEs and private customers, closed the first half of the year with total funding from customers of around €5 billion (compared to €4.4 billion as of December 31st, 2022). On the other hand, two securitization transactions were finalized by the bank in the same period, with €750 million in funding, giving it a total stock from institutional investors of €1.8 billion.
More in detail, at the end of June Banca Progetto announced the conclusion of a €670 million securitization on a portfolio of loans provided to Italian SMEs and guaranteed by the SME Guarantee Fund. Intesa Sanpaolo, IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division acted in the role of arranger through the vehicle company Progetto PMI 4 srl.
The previous securitization, the one announced in late May through the vehicle Progetto PMI 3 srl, was then for €80 million. At that time the amount of the transaction was not revealed, but now precisely it can be derived by difference.
More recently, in August, the institution instead finalized a new securitization of loans to SMEs, with a volume of underlying loans totaling some €725 million, this time sold to the vehicle Progetto PMI 5.
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On the corporate disbursement front, Banca Progetto has reached €1.5 billion
Among the latest operations announced, we recall last May a €4.5 million euro loan, guaranteed by Mediocredito Centrale, to Nefrocenter, Italy’s first private group specializing in nephrology, dialysis, diabetology, and metabolic diseases. With the funds, the company financed the acquisition of Rome American Hospital, a 150-bed private hospital facility with a special focus on cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, oncology, urology, and orthopedics.
Banca Progetto’s total assets at the end of June were €7.5 billion (up from €6.7 billion at the end of 2022), net income €38.3 million (up 20.4 percent year-on-year), and CET 1 Ratio at 18.1 percent (up from 17.2 percent in December 2022). As for the first quarter of this year alone, however, total assets had been €7.1 billion, net income €21 million, and the CET 1 Ratio at 18 percent. In contrast, corporate loans had stood at €700 million.
Also in the first six months of 2023, Banca Progetto also recorded a major development of the non-recourse purchase product for VAT credits of small and medium-sized enterprises with volumes of €111 million, more than doubled from €52 million euros as of June 30, 2022. In the same period, the bank then launched a line of factoring services with a turnover of €22 million.
With reference to loans dedicated to retail customers, during the first half of the year, the assignment of one-fifth of the salary totaled new disbursements of €25 million.
Paolo Fiorentino, CEO of Banca Progetto, commented, “The excellent results of the first half of 2023 consolidate the growth trend in terms of volumes and revenues, supported by increasingly diversified funding, high operational efficiency, and strong capital strength. The bank’s entry into the factoring segment complements the product portfolio offered to businesses, confirming our role as the benchmark integrated digital banking platform for SMEs, supporting their sustainable development.”
The exponential growth of the business has led the bank to become an attractive target for both private equity funds and other investors. In recent months there has been talk of a possible listing on Piazza Affari and even a sale. “The long-term shareholder (since 2015) has expressed a desire for an exit to enhance the value of the investment after a path of exponential growth and a successful turnaround. Thanks to the important numbers, there are several interested parties,” Giuseppe Pignatelli, head of Banca Progetto’s Enterprise Division, said.
In the summer of last year, in fact, BFF Banking Group, listed on Piazza Affari, had obtained the exclusive right to negotiate for control of the bank led by Fiorentino, but then the terms expired without anything more being done.
The suggestion regarding the possible deal, however, had knocked out Banca Progetto’s two other suitors of the moment, namely, on one hand, the Davidson Kempner fund, which last month sold to ION Investments the Prelios Group, which is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, which specializes in distressed credit and real estate investments and management.
On the other hand, the Centerbridge fund, which specializes in investments in the financial sector brought BFF Banking Group itself to the stock market in 2017, from which it then exited permanently in February 2021. More recently, names of industrial partners potentially interested in acquiring the bank have been circulating, such as Fineco, CheBanca!, and Banca Mediolanum.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Born2Invest, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.
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First published in Be Beez. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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