Nuova Holdings (NHS), the private equity division of Italian investment bank San Paolo IMI, has successfully closed its E100m fund targeting investments in the underdeveloped Mezzogiorno region of Southern Italy.
NHS raised the fund via two E35m contributions from both its parent company and the European Investment Fund, according to a statement from San Paolo. A further E10m came from Caisse des Dépots et Consignations, with an additional E20m coming from private investors.
Talk of a fund aimed at Southern Italy was first mooted last year, when Sviluppo Italia, National Agency for the Economic Development of Southern Italy, drew up plans to invest in the region, one of Europe’s poorest, with a view to developing the area’s industrial capacity. In particular the fund will support the creation of technology-based companies.
The new fund will focus on expanding SMEs with a capital value of between E500,000 and E75m.
Earlier this year, NHS Nuova Holding announced that it was looking to launch a second, smaller fund targeting deals in central Italy with a target of E70m, again drawing on the support of EIF, the venture capital investment arm of the European Investment Bank.
The EIF was created in 1994 as a joint venture between the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission and several European banks and financial institutions (including San Paolo IMI). The EIB recently became majority shareholder of the EIF, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the investment capacity of the EIF, which now amounts to more than E3bn available for investment over the next three years. The fund has in excess of E1.8bn committed to 140 venture capital funds, including a commitment to the Go Equity fund targeting Austrian investment opportunities, which closed at E54m last week.