Record breaker for Italian start-ups

Italian private equity and venture capital deals reached record highs in the first half of 2007 with a total value of €1.9bn (up 131% on first half 2006 figures) invested in 153 deals (up 29% on first half 2006 figures), according to the Italian private equity association, AIFI, in co-operation with PricewaterhouseCoopers transaction services.

As in previous years, the largest chunk of capital flowed into buyout deals, which represented about 80% of the total amount invested. The number of deals completed was up to 42, up from 34 in the first semester 2006.

With 55 deals (up 129% on first semester 2006 figures), early stage investments outnumbered expansion deals, representing 36% by number compared to 20% in the first semester of 2006.

Expansion deals were static by number, but increased from €276m in the first semester of 2006 to about €340m for the same period in 2007.

Finally, about €21m flowed into eight replacement capital deals.

AIFI chairman Giampio Bracchi said: “The 55 start-up deals, more than double than the first semester of last year results, underline the constant evolution of the Italian private equity market that, apart from the solid experience in investments in traditional SMEs, is also expanding in the venture capital sector.”

In terms of region, the South has started to attract more investment, accounting for 9% of total investment in the first half of 2007, compared with 3% in the first half of 2006. In the North, by contrast, the number of investments were down, accounting for 66% of total deals compared to 78% for the same period in 2006.