02 November, Il Sole 24 Ore
There are very important names in the list of defaulting debtors that led Mps onto bad loans for 47 billion. They’re entrepreneurs, developers, cooperatives and Tuscany’s state-owned companies. Concerning politics, right and left wing are equally represented. After all, the bank has been managed for decades by a Foundation which was the expression of the political power, using credit as an instrument to obtain consent and deals.
As Il Sole 24 Ore reported, one of the main protagonists was the De Benedetti family with the company Sorgenia. Its story is symbolic for its dimensions and the unusual role played by Mps. Sorgenia had a 1.8-billion-euro debt towards the bank. Mps alone somehow took charge of one-third of the debt. 600 million euro were in the accounts of the bank which made the biggest effort in comparison with the other 15 banks that funded the bankrupted electricity provider. Having realised the irreversible crisis, the De Benedettis were open to recapitalise as requested by the banks. In the end, all the debt of Sorgenia went to those banks that converted their exposures into shares. Mps became the shareholder of Nuova Sorgenia holding 17% of the capital. It will be necessary to reorganise and sell the company to repay the debt eventually. Today, Sorgenia in included in the non-performing loans of Mps. Not only, in 2015 the bank devalued the Sorgenia stocks by 36 million euro.
Mps, together with other banks, have also issued credit to Luigi Zunino. The former developer piled a debt towards banks for 3 billion. His old company Risanamento is still a defaulting debtor of Mps which devalued his securities by 11.6 million in 2015.
Another prominent name is that of Gianni Punzo, one of the Ntv main shareholders, as well as the promoter and creator of the Nola freight terminal, one of the biggest logistics infrastructures in southern Italy. Cisfi, the financial holding company on top of the complex corporate structure, had been struggling under a considerable amount of debt for a long time. Also in this case, Mps converted a part of the loans into shares. Today, Mps is Cisfi main partner holding 7% of the company (with Punzo holding 6.1% of it).
The crisis of the Nola freight terminal resulted in more bad loans for Mps, holding securities that had been devalued by 11 million in 2015. Moreover, the bank had also to deal with the BTP disaster. The company was the general contractor for Bartolomei-Fusi, which was sponsored by Verdini, a name more frequently quoted in judicial proceedings that in the business world.
Fenice Holding was the company born from the collapse of the Tuscany contractor. Again, Mps end up holding defaulting loans. Among the developers, it’s not possible not to include Statuto. The company had its Danieli hotel in Venice foreclosed which was funded by Mps and other banks.
The list goes on with Impreme of the Rome developers Mezzaroma with the disastrous real estate project in Casalboccone inherited by Ligresti which saw Mps among the shareholders (in exchange of the unpaid credits) holding 22% of the capital. In addition, Mps was also involved in the reorganisation of the Unieco debts.
Among the real estate dossiers, there is also the financing of some defaulting funds such the vehicle managed by Cordea Savills which was excessively leveraged by Mps. The bank, in fact, held the properties that belonged to the Comit retirement fund. Mps also financed some funds of Est Capital, the company managing the Lido di Venezia project that was liquidated.
Finally, there are the state-owned companies. Mps was involved in the debts or securities of Scarlino Energia, Fidi Toscana, Bonifiche di Arezzo, the Siena airport and even the company running the Chianciano thermal baths. The bank ended up being the manager of companies in crisis whereas it should have been only a bank.
Source: Il Sole 24 Ore
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi