MILAN (1) – Italy has rebuffed calls to broadly embrace companies who have been already struggling to repay their debt in its newest coronavirus financial support package deal, two officers who labored on the measures mentioned, leaving lenders to face rising mortgage losses.

Rome this week accredited an emergency decree that gives ensures on greater than 400 billion euros ($435 billion) of latest financial institution loans to firms hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Banking and enterprise lobbies had known as for the package deal to embrace loans prolonged to firms already in hassle earlier than the virus hit and deemed nonetheless to have an opportunity to be restored to good well being, the officers instructed 1.

Italian banks held 76 billion euros in such loans, often known as ‘unlikely to pay’ (UTP), as of mid-2019, which at the moment are extra doubtless to default within the deep recession anticipated to observe the pandemic.

Below the decree, a set of state ensures reserved for smaller firms with not more than 499 employees might be tapped by firms that have been often repaying their debt up till Jan. 31.

That pre-dates the coronavirus contagion which emerged in Italy on Feb. 20-21, in a restricted concession to firms whose troubles can’t be traced again solely to the virus.

The 2 officers mentioned there had been intense discussions on the deadline, which is related by way of compliance with European state support guidelines.

“By setting Jan. 31 because the deadline for the set of ensures that may be tapped to refinance present debt, the decree excludes the overwhelming majority of downside loans,” Tommaso Foco, a companion at regulation agency Portolano Cavallo, mentioned.

A authorities official mentioned the Treasury was not presently contemplating extending additional state ensures for UTP loans.

In efforts to curb the unfold of the virus, the federal government has enforced a progressively wider shutdown and it should now prop up firms liable to buckling below mounting cost deadlines by means of debt moratoriums and ensures on new financial institution debt.

The debt vacation applies solely to firms that have been performing up till March 17.

Annalisa Dentoni-Litta, a companion at regulation agency Orrick, mentioned the brand new decree, although it had limitations, was “a step ahead” in contrast to the debt moratorium package deal by way of support for debtors already in hassle.

Whereas praising the brand new liquidity package deal, the pinnacle of Italy’s third-largest financial institution Banco BPM (BAMI.MI) this week mentioned UTPs remained an issue.

“There are firms that, helped by banks, have been getting again on monitor. If they’re denied the ensures accessible to performing firms it’s clear there’ll be issues there,” CEO Giuseppe Castagna mentioned in a tv interview.

“I perceive the federal government faces constraints due to European guidelines however it’s an essential subject – these firms are nonetheless in enterprise.”

As of mid-2019, Italian banks’ provisions in opposition to losses lined solely round 40% of their UTP loans, in opposition to a 65% protection for defaulted loans, pointing to a 19 billion euro hole by way of extra writedowns. ($1 = 0.9205 euros)

Extra reporting by Andrea Mandala; Modifying by Kirsten Donovan