First green light for the most substantial loan guaranteed by the state to an industrial group, according to the schemes provided for by the liquidity decree to deal with the effects of the health emergency. The board of directors of Intesa Sanpaolo has approved the financing of the 6.3 billion loan, guaranteed 80% by Sace, to FCA Italy. And the institute led by Carlo Messina did so also in consideration of the fundamental role of financing itself for the Italian automotive supply chain.
The loan now remains subject to two conditions. The first is the approval of the public guarantee by Sace, since for liquidity requests from companies with a turnover of 1.5 billion or more or with a number of employees in Italy greater than or equal to 5 thousand, the Liquidit Decree provides that Sace applies the so-called ordinary procedure, instead of the simplified procedure which allows a guarantee to be resolved even within a few hours. For this, it will be necessary to wait for Sace to prepare an investigation which will have to be voted on by the board. The second condition that the MEF must go ahead with the operation, which will materialize with a decree published on theOfficial Journal– subject to approval by the Court of Auditors – which will fix the details of the loan.
As will be remembered, although the operation can be considered to the advantage of the entire automotive supply chain, the request for funding from the group chaired by John Elkann has given rise to several controversies in public opinion, starting with the political parterre. In particular, because an Italian company (such as FCA Italy) but a subsidiary of a company with registered office in the Netherlands and tax domicile in the United Kingdom has applied for the loan. So much so that Codacons appealed to the Tar of Lazio challenging the part of the decree that does not exclude companies belonging to a group whose parent company is based abroad from the possibility of obtaining financing.
The loan guaranteed by the state, in other ways, also guarantees in crisis conditions (with group liquidity falling, in the first quarter of 2020, to 18 billion, 5 less than in the pre-coronavirus period) the automotive group’s employment and investments. That will use the new resources not only to pay employees but also to pay the supply chain of strategic suppliers for production in Italian plants and to secure the realization of investments, in particular those dedicated to the development and electrification of new models in production in the various plants.
And precisely because compliance with the commitments undertaken is guaranteed, in particular those relating to the payment of strategic suppliers, Intesa Sanpaolo has defined an innovative mechanism that provides, once the loan agreement has been finalized, the use of dedicated current accounts for employee remuneration, supplier payments and the support of investments, so as to ensure support for the supply chain. Which, including the services related to the automotive sector, employs over 1 million people, employed in approximately 200,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, with a turnover of around 19% of the Italian GDP.
In light of the maxi financing, the honorary president of Unimpresa, Paolo Longobardi, reiterated the hope that the network of dealers could also benefit to which FCA Bank usually lends with interest from 5% to 6%: FCA reviews these conditions taking into account that incoming liquidity thanks to public money will be paid very little, with interest certainly lower than 2% if not very close to 1%.