Italy is different

Source: Southern Europe unquote | 06 Dec 2012
Maurizio Delfino of Studio Legale Delfino e Associati Willkie Farr and Gallagher

While the doom and gloom settles in the rest of Europe, Italian private equity professionals advertise a cautious optimism despite decreasing activity in the country.

The first 10 months of 2012 have revealed an abysmal drop-off in terms of private equity deal values, which plummeted more than 70% to €1.7bn, according to unquote" data. Mercifully, the number of deals remained fairly static, suggesting it is a lack of mega-deals – lumpy in nature – which has driven the fall, and that deals are still getting done further down the value spectrum.

While the figures only tell half the story (the negative half), responses from the Studio Legale Delfino e Associati Willkie Farr & Gallagher survey, powered by unquote", demonstrate the positive attitude displayed by local professionals. Investors are paying close attention to their portfolio companies' performance and while they are rightfully concerned about LPs, an impressive 96% of the professionals surveyed are hoping to raise another fund in the near future.

The launch of various government-backed initiatives might well be a new competitor for most Italian private equity firms, but it also reflects the willingness of the Italian government to develop the private equity industry over the coming years and, perhaps more important, it is evidence of both a change of attitude towards the private equity industry and an appreciation for the positive effect that private equity may play in the development of Italian business. An attitude that may well buttress the country's optimism.

Download the latest unquote" Italy Survey HERE.

Maurizio Delfino is partner at Studio Legale Delfino e Associati Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

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