Equita SIM raises €66m for Italian private debt fund

The Italian brokerage is targeting domestic investors to reach its €150m target for the fund which will invest in mid-size, export-focused companies.

Italian brokerage and investment bank Equita SIM has raised €66 million from domestic investors for its Italian private debt fund, the first step towards its €150 million final target.

The Equita Private Debt Fund received committments from Italian institutional investors, including the government-backed Fondo Italiano d’Investimento, as well as banks, insurers and entrepreneurs. The group said it would continue raising funds over the next 12-18 months, predominantly from Italian investors with whom it has strong contacts.

“We are delighted with the result achieved as it marks another important step in Equita’s growth strategy,” said Equita chairman Alessandro Profumo. “The fund aims to support medium-sized businesses and complement the existing banking system.”

The fund will invest in debt issued by mid-sized Italian companies that are export-focused, have a strong competitive position in the market and have good profitability. The fund will be able to invest in senior and subordinated credits with maturities of between four and seven years, as well as equity.

Equita Private Debt Fund will be managed by former Goldman Sachs and BS Private Equity executive Paolo Pendenza, with input from the firm’s top management including chief executive Francesco Perilli. The fund is currently analysing potential investments, which could be finalised in the coming weeks, it said.

The first close comes just a couple of months after Equita’s management, led by Profumo – a former chief executive of Italian bank UniCredit – completed the buyout of the firm from private equity group JC Flowers. The US private equity firm took a controlling stake in Euromobiliare SIM in 2007, changing the company’s name to Equita SIM the following year.

Equita originally launched two private debt funds focused on corporate bonds and leveraged loans in 2014, both with €200 million targets. The debt fund’s first close follows recent amendments to Italian legislation that will make it easier for international debt managers to originate and invest in loans to Italian companies. Those rules are expected to come fully into force during the second quarter, allowing non-Italian credit funds to be active in the market by the end of the year.