Cassa Depositi e Prestiti

Has the biggest investment plan in Italy ready to go: 160bn investment plan to spark the recovery of Italy’s infrastructure, companies and economy – and with it a piece of the wider European economy. Another 100bn would be provided by funds, including some based abroad

Claudio Costamagna e Fabio Gallia

Claudio Costamagna e Fabio Gallia

You could call it a financial spaceship, an economic Starship Enterprise charting a long, ambitious course through a section of space not free from obstacles in order to take the country’s economy to the stars. Even after close inspection, the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Cdp) bank’s five-year industrial plan is deserving of such hyperbole. Why? Because it mobilises €160bn of investment, nearly one for every year of Cdp’s existence (the bank was founded in 1850), and activates regulations that could mean a further €100bn arrive courtesy of public and private funds from both Italy and abroad. That’s enough to relaunch not just Italy and its economy, but also a fair slice of the wider European economy. And all with a mere 600-person workforce.

There are four main pillars to the plan Ceo Fabio Gallia and President Claudio Costamagna drew up straight after their appointments: support for public bodies, strengthening of infrastructure, backing for companies and the development of real estate assets. But there is one common objective underpinning all of these: to help save families more money and promote the Italian economy. Activity began in early January, as per the plan. Public bodies will be backed with €15bn (a 22% increase on the previous five-year period) and the strengthening of the national network. And while this confirms Cdp’s role as the primary financier of public bodies, the bank will also develop ways of complementing the standard loans, by making the most of real estate assets and stakes in utilities, as well as optimising the use of Eu structural funds.

On the infrastructure front, Cdp intends to bridge the gap between Italy and the other European countries, which has been partly caused by delayed action and long implementation timescales. Resources totalling €24bn (a 23% increase on the previous five-year period) to support the creation of physical and digital networks and strategic infrastructural hubs (ports, airports). For companies, the plan includes the mobilisation of €117bn (a 73% increase on the previous five-year period) and will also see action taken to support all phases of company life cycles thanks to the use of venture capital funds, with innovative start-ups also set to benefit. It will be easier for Smes to access credit, while another operational tool set to be implemented will be a new investment fund designed to support the growth of medium-to-large-scale business.

The portfolio of national stakeholdings will be reorganised with a focus on systemically relevant, long-term investment. Support for internationalisation and the export market will be reinforced via the creation of a central hub formed by Sace. This will make it easier for companies to access the group’s financial and insurance services. Cdp will also intervene in company restructuring operations and will continue to focus on real estate, both in order to make the most of public assets and also to promote social housing. This will play a part in large regeneration and development projects taking place in areas of strategic importance to Italy, with particular attention being placed on tourist areas and the South.