“The liquidity premium offered by the asset class is attractive, and the yield can be double that of a Eurobond of similar quality.”She said SMEs were potentially nimbler and more able to adapt to a changing economic environment than large companies.Furthermore, their operational leverage might be more contained because of lower fixed costs, leading to faster adjustment of the production capacity. On the other hand, SMEs might suffer more from price competition.Minibonds were created in October 2012 by Italy’s then government to give SMEs an alternative source of finance as bank lending dries up.Generally, they enjoy the same tax treatment as debt issued by listed companies, including tax relief on interest costs and issuance expenses.In addition, there are relatively few, and simplified, regulatory requirements for issuing the debt instruments.BNP Paribas Bond Italia PMI’s investable universe is made up of 1,500 companies selected on the basis of risk profile, type of business, turnover, industry outlook and international business profile.The fund will hold bonds from between 25 and 40 issuers.There will be a maximum holding of 8% for BBB-rated issuers and 5% for BB-rated issuers.Holdings will include both bullet bonds and amortising bonds.Ori said: “We have not set a maximum percentage per region, but we expect a large part of the investment to be made in the northern part of the country, given the concentration of the GDP in that area.“To ensure good diversification, we will allocate investments by industries, based on their weighting in the GDP and their financial outlook.”Bonds will typically be fixed rate but variable-rate issues will also be considered to hedge risk.The average maturity of the debt will be between four and five years.The target yield to maturity will be around 6% per year, with a net return for investors of 5% per year.Dividends will be paid at least annually.Ori said: “The risk/return of the fund is particularly attractive compared with similar products in foreign markets, for example, France and Germany. We therefore expect foreign investors to show interest in this product.”She added: “The profile of our fund is more conservative compared with others, as we want the asset class to start properly in the market, especially for investors such as pension funds.“We have launched a multi-originator platform with strict rules to manage conflict of interest and ensure the alignment of information and interest between investors and originators.”The fund’s target subscription is €150m, and the minimum investment is €1m.The fund will have a seven-year lifespan once subscriptions close next October.Financial consultancy Prometeia will act as the fund’s independent adviser, assisting with the screening of SMEs. BNP Paribas Investment Partners is seeking pension funds, banking foundations and other institutional investors for a new closed-end fund investing in bonds issued by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Italy – so-called minibonds.The BNP Paribas Bond Italia PMI will target companies with an annual turnover of less than €250m.Elisa Ori, head of institutional business development at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, said: “Companies with a turnover below this level are normally unable to finance themselves in the liquid Eurobond market, via a syndicated bond issue. The aim of this fund is to provide these companies with market-based financing as an alternative to bank loans.”Ori added: “The asset class is a good opportunity for long-term investors because it offers diversification and a good risk/return profile.
The Wisconsin softball team ended a seven-game home losing streak Monday afternoon with a doubleheader sweep over the North Dakota State Bison. The Badgers won the first game 7-0 and the second in a more exciting fashion, by a score of 5-3.This was the first meeting between the Badgers and the Bison in history as NDSU just this year joined the Division I ranks, playing as an independent. The match would prove to be disastrous for the Bison, however, and it would also be a record setting day for the Badgers.The Badgers made club history in the first game of the doubleheader, setting a school record for home runs in a game and tying records for home runs in an inning and consecutive home runs.Initially, it appeared as though NDSU pitcher Allison Bakke was going to roll after she retired the first four batters Wisconsin sent to the plate, but those thoughts were eradicated on a blast by designated hitter Anastasia Miller. After a walk by Joey Daniels, Miller took a pitch that was left up in the zone deep over the left field fence, leaving no doubt about it upon contact, and put the Badgers up 2-0 early.The Badgers then put up an offensive show in the third inning. With one out, shortstop Kris Zacher got things started with a triple to the right field gap, adding to her school record of 10 career triples. After a groundout by Sam Polito, freshman Katie Hnatyk sent a shot over the center field fence that put the Badgers up 4-0. Catcher Boo Gillette then teed off three pitches later, adding to the Wisconsin lead. Then, with Daniels on base, Miller went deep for the second time in the game — the Badgers’ fourth home run of the game.The second Miller home run set the school record for home runs in a game with four. Three other records were tied in the inning. The back-to-back shots by Hnatyk and Gillette tied a record for consecutive at-bats with home runs. The three-home run third inning tied the record for most home runs in an inning — set April 2 against Ohio State — and the two home runs by Miller tied the record for most home runs by a player in a single game, set by Ricci Robben earlier this season. “I was very happy with our offensive attack,” head coach Karen Gallagher said after the game. “They went up there aggressive, and they seemed really relaxed at the plate. I think it’s good to have some games like this where they’re feeling good and making good contact.”In the bottom of the fourth, Wisconsin threatened again with the deep ball, but a catch by NDSU centerfielder Grete Peterson robbed Zacher of her sixth home run of the season.While the Badgers piled up runs, the Bison kept knocking on the door against pitcher Katie Layne. While putting a runner on in each of the first four innings, the Bison continued to threaten, but they failed to capitalize. They threatened in the top of the fourth when NDSU loaded the bases with two outs, but Layne was able to strike out Ashley Leier to get out of the jam. Two innings later, the Bison once again loaded the bases, with just one out this time around, but Layne once again snaked her way out of trouble with the Badgers’ Big Ten-leading fifteenth double play of the season off the bat of Jennifer Morse. That would be the best the Bison could muster, and they would fall in the first game 7-0.Layne got the complete game shutout in the match, giving up only three hits on three walks and six strikeouts.The bats settled down early for the Badgers in the second match of the afternoon. Bison pitcher Bekki Rasmussen got to Wisconsin right from the start. She held UW hitless in the first three innings, and the Badgers were stymied.Shoddy defense by the Wisconsin fielders caught up with them in the fourth inning. An error in centerfield by Polito allowed NDSU leftfielder Lynnae Foshag to advance to second base after her leadoff base hit. A bunt by Bakke advanced Foshag to third, but Brock struck out Erin Troup for the second out of the inning. Aimee Enzler then hit a slow dribbler to Daniels at third base, who let the ball slip through her legs, allowing Foshag to break the scoreless tie.Wisconsin answered back in the bottom of the fourth inning with two runs by Zacher and Polito. The Badgers added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth, and the rout was on — that is until the top of the seventh inning. With the score 5-1, the Bison managed to score two runs on a couple of Badger errors, but with the bases loaded and two out, Brock forced Foshag to ground out to second base to preserve the victory.Despite the inconsistent defense, the Badger pitchers continue to have confidence in their fielders.“I struggled a little bit today with the zone, but it wasn’t because I didn’t think the people behind me were not going to do their jobs,” Layne said after her shutout. “I always have confidence in my defense, and I know Eden does, too.”