UniCredit and Kepler Cheuvreux today announced that 160 international investors and over 50 Milan-listed companies attended the annual Italian Investment Conference 2015, which took place at the UniCredit Tower in Milan, on 10 June. The number of international investors and companies participating in the event has been constantly increasing over the years, making the Italian Investment Conference the biggest capital markets conference in Italy.
The Italian Investment Conference brings together the largest and most representative group of Italian corporates with key international investors. The event provides a unique opportunity for networking, introductions and business opportunities, as well as a platform to discuss trends in the Italian economy.
Commenting on the conference, Gianni Franco Papa, Head of UniCredit Corporate & Investment Banking says: "We are delighted by the strong interest from investors and companies to attend our conference in Milan. Equity issuance in Italy has increased by about 60% in the first five months of the year, versus the same period in 2014, which compares to an average increase of about 20% in Europe. In our view this further confirms the positive momentum of the Italian economy. Top international players are eager to invest in high quality Italian assets while Italian companies are re-starting plans for investment and growth abroad. 2015 marks a change for the Italian economy and this will lead to increasing activity in the equity capital markets and in M&A transactions."
Italian GDP grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2015, the first positive reading in one and a half years. UniCredit expects GDP to expand by 0.6% in 2015, before accelerating beyond 1% in 2016.
According to Dealogic, equity issuances amounted to EUR 6.8 bn in the period January to May 2015, against an amount of EUR 4.28 bn in the same period last year. In Europe, in the same period this year, equity issuances amounted to EUR 109.5 bn as compared to EUR 90.5 bn last year.
In 2015, Unicredit confirms its role as the most active bookrunner of equity issuance in Italy, according to Dealogic league tables, with five transactions executed in the first four months with a value of EUR 1.25 bn and a market share of 20%.
M&A activity has also registered a strong increase in Italy in the first five months of the year, with the volume of transactions amounting to EUR 28 bn year to date, compared with EUR 11 bn in the same period of 2014, which represents an increase over 150%, according to Mergermarket.
Marco Valli, Chief Eurozone Economist, UniCredit said: "Growth is back in Italy. We expect GDP to expand another 0.3% qoq in 2Q15 and somewhat more in 2H15. All in all, we expect GDP to expand by 0.6%, this year, before accelerating beyond 1.0% in 2016. Benefiting from the weakness in the euro, we believe that a big contribution will come from exports, which are likely to gain traction this year especially to countries where we see increasing opportunities for Italian business, particularly in Europe and in Asia"
Ruggero Bottazzi, Head of Kepler Cheuvreux Italy adds ''Once again, it has been a pleasure to work with our partners at UniCredit on this event, which has become a "must" in the Italian equity space for the global investor community. Year-to-date, Italy has boasted one of the world's best performing stock markets, as last year's hopes for reforms and economic recovery have become reality. We believe the best has yet to come."
Milan, 10 June 2015