The new 2017 “Sabatini law” has introduced, for small and medium-sized enterprises, the possibility to benefit of subsidized loans for the investments relating to an established company in the form of machineries, capital goods, hardware/software and digital technologies, and to benefit of a contribution from the Ministry for the Economic Development for the interests to be repaid by virtue of the loan.
In account of the importance, for the Italian economic system, of the vast number of small and medium-sized enterprises that operates in the country and aware of the necessity to promote they competiveness and development, the Italian government has planned to invest about 500 million euros to implement such a measure.
In order to beneficiate of the new incentives, the company should fulfil some requirements. In particular, they must be SMEs: in accordance with the European definition, “the category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euro.”
Provided that a company qualifies as a SME, in order to be entitled to the new incentives it should be:
- Regularly constituted and registered in the Italian registry of enterprises;
- Capable to exercise its rights fully and freely;
- Not listed on the subjects which received a State aid recognized as illegal by the European Court of Justice without having returned it;
- Not in a situation of economic crisis or subject to voluntary liquidation.
Should the company fulfill all these requirements, as mentioned, it can obtain a subsidized loan from a bank approved by the Ministry of Economy, joining the contribution of the latter for a quota of the interests to be repaid. In more detail, such a loan may over up to 100% of the planned investment, and can range from € 20.000 to € 2 million, with a repayment plan up to 5 years; a particular enterprise can also require more than one loan, provided that, on the overall, the requested funds do not exceed the limit of € 2 million. However, in the particular case of investments relating to advanced technologies, i.e. bid data, cloud computing, ultrafast broadband, cybersecurity, augmented reality, 4D manufacture, radio frequency identifications (RFID) and systems for the tracking and weighing of wastes, the contribution limit is elevated by 30%.
The government’s contribution to the SMEs amounts to the interests to be repaid by virtue of the loan, with a yearly conventional tax of 2,75 % (3,575% for the particular investments in the field of technology previously mentioned), and do not qualify as State Aids under the European Laws.
The new incentives are certainly beneficial also for foreign investors. In fact, on one hand they can acquire existing SMEs in Italy and join of these new financial aids to obtain funds to invest in the company, e.g. to purchase new machineries or capital goods; on the other, as the request of subsidized loans can be approved until 31 December 2018, foreign investors have time to establish new SMEs in the State’s territory, being therefore entitled to the new Sabatini law.
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