Italy Prepares $53 Billion War Chest to Save Stricken Companies

Italy is set to give state-backed lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA the first tranche for a new 44 billion-euro ($53 billion) fund designed to relaunch companies whose finances have been ravaged by the pandemic.

The finance ministry, which controls Cassa Depositi, has approved the first disbursement, comprising about 3 billion euros in government bonds, according to people familiar with the matter.

The fund will be managed by Cassa Depositi but will remain independent from the lender’s other operations. It can be used to inject capital and strengthen the balance sheets of companies that have seen their financial position weakened by the Covid-19 crisis. It will also be able to help firms raise money by issuing convertible bonds.

A Treasury spokesman declined to comment.

The fund was set up last spring under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and is open to any Italian company outside the financial industry. Italy’s economy shrank 8.9% last year.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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