The credit crunch has expelled an SME every five from the market

In the period from 2007, the year in which the crisis began, to 2013, one in five Italian small or medium enterprises was expelled from the market. The numbers actually sound ruthless: 13,000 bankruptcies, 5,000 non-bankruptcy insolvency proceedings and 23,000 voluntary liquidations. A crisis that has also affected the profitability of companies if we consider that the Italian SMEs have lost as much as 31 percentage points of gross operating margin and have more than halved the ROE, or the return on invested capital, which has collapsed since 13, 9 percent to 5.6 percent. Now, the storm seems to have subsided, but the recovery promises to be extremely slow: revenues and margins should indeed grow in the two-year period 2015-2016, but the resulting profitability should still be about 25 percent less than the maximum recorded in the pre-crisis period.

Italian SME

Italian SME

These are the results of a study curated by Cerved and related to the composite world of Italian SMEs. The study in question presented a detailed analysis of the economic and financial situation of those companies which, based on the EU definition, can boast a turnover of between 2 and 50 million and a workforce that fluctuates between 10 and 250 employees. A band that sees the presence on Italian soil of as many as 144 thousand companies, which taken as a whole manage to generate a turnover of 851 billion a year, with an added value that reaches 183 billion, or 12% of the National GDP. Which are opposed to financials for 271 billion, numbers that bring the average turnover of an Italian SME to around 6 million per year.

Credit crunch

Credit crunch

In presenting the report, the CEO of Cerved, Gianandrea De Bernardis wanted to emphasize the ongoing credit crunch in our country towards the backbone of the Italian productive system, giving life to a vice that is the result of the combined by Basel and recession rules. In the period from 2011 to 2013, the financial debts of SMEs fell by more than four percentage points, while in 2012 those of large companies increased, only to fall slightly, by 0.9%, during the 2013. If many of the failed companies were already in trouble before the crisis, there were also companies whose bankruptcy instead resulted from liquidity problems rather than sustainability.

A credit problem, with which the startup sector has also clashed, if you think that only 5 thousand innovative companies could take off counting on the support of the banking system.
At the same time, what happened has rebalanced the SME-based production system, leading to a decrease in companies with accounts not in place. Among the factors that allowed this result, in addition to the exclusion of less solid companies, also the drop in interest rates with a consequent reduction in the weight related to financial charges on margins and the recapitalization of companies up to 32% of the net assets between 2007 and 2013.

Among the measures launched by successive governments in this time frame, those in favor of the minibond market should be mentioned, which have also allowed unlisted companies to find financing on the markets. Without, however, exceptional results, considering that according to Cerved just 29 SMEs have proceeded to issue bonds for a total of 226 million. Against a mobilization for 4.2 billion that could meet the needs of at least 2,500 companies.


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