SMEs: how many companies have applied for a moratorium?

by Alex Musk

The activities that made greater use of the moratoriums provided by the Government were those most affected by Covid: personal services, art, and sport, catering, and hotels, according to the Ateco codes. Fewer requests from agriculture, fisheries, and finance. 

The ‘buffer’ prepared by the Government with the Cura Italia Decree, to cushion the impact of the crisis triggered by the pandemic on mortgages and the open credit lines of Italian companies, is about to expire. A few more months (deadline, after the last extension, moved to next December 31st) and the companies that have used this life jacket will have to deal with a new reality. Agree that there is an economic recovery, even stronger than expected, that interest rates continue to always turn around the minimum but the installments on the loans obtained will in any case return to ‘weight’ more.

40% guaranteed by the Confide Maggiore have joined

Research, carried out in collaboration between CRIF and Lorenzo Gai of the University of Florence, analyzed what has happened among small and medium-sized enterprises since the moratorium was launched. Photography reveals two aspects in particular:

  • the sectors that have requested the moratoriums are above all those most affected by Covid-19, or services in the broadest sense;
  • greater difficulties are expected at the end of the moratorium for companies in the South and the Islands.

Since last year, as many as 39.4% of SMEs guaranteed by the Confide Maggiore applied a moratorium for the suspension of loan installments.

Personal services, art, and hotel-restaurants

In detail, the first three sectors are represented (according to the Ateco codes) by ‘Other service activities (which includes various activities, including personal services, hairdressers, beauty centers, etc.), ‘ Artistic, sporting activities, entertainment and entertainment ‘ and ‘ Accommodation and catering services, all three with a share of more than 50% of the total (54.2%, 53.9%, and 53.8% respectively). Immediately behind, according to the study, are the companies active in the sectors of ‘Health and social assistance’ and those active in the field of ‘Mining, quarries and peat bogs’, with a share close to 50%.

Fewer requests from agriculture, fisheries, and finance

On the contrary, among the sectors least involved in the request for suspension of installments there are ‘Agriculture, forestry and fishing and ‘Financial and insurance activities’ with percentages of 35% and 37% respectively. The economic prospects of companies for 2021 are improving, but not yet at the levels marked before the emergency, especially as regards turnover (estimated to be down 3.1%). In this scenario, the role of Confide will be extremely fundamental in accompanying companies on a path of resumption of activity and digital and sustainable development, following the provisions of the PNRR. 

The relevant repayment portion concerning the debt

The companies belonging to the most reliable classes are also those which, having greater prospective cash flows and being less impacted by Covid-19, have shown less interest in the moratorium. However, if they joined, they opted to freeze the repayment with a, particularly significant weight compared to the debt exposure. The percentage of companies that have frozen an installment with an incidence greater than 10% of the exposure is up to 5 times higher than that recorded in the worst risk classes. In particular, in the ‘Wholesale and’ Retail ‘sectors.

Northern companies are better off post-moratorium

The study also shows that, with time, the conditions for exploiting the funding moratorium are shrinking. In sectoral terms, the activities related to leisure time, catering and accommodation – which, as mentioned, had shown the highest percentage of requests for a moratorium – in addition to real estate, are the sectors for which the greatest difficulties are expected at the end of the moratorium. . At a geographical level, the most penalized will be SMEs in the South and Islands, while companies in Northern Italy (health, information and communication, and social assistance) are the best positioned.

 

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