An Italian company – SFA SpA – has become the first company to list on the Prospects framework of the Malta Stock Exchange.

The company is evaluating a series of projects at the moment and will issue a corporate bond – its first foray into financing through listed instruments. It was brought to the Exchange through an Italian corporate adviser, Demetra, which was among the first foreign entities to recognise the potential of the newly launched SME-oriented listing space.

Demetra Corporate Advisors is run by a team of professionals led by Maurizio Cohen and Fulvio Degrassi, who have very deep knowledge and expertise within the SME segment. The company has a broad international presence, particularly in Italy but also in Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey and Lebanon.

It has been in touch with the MSE since very early in the Prospects launch, and has been promoting the platform to Italian companies, in collaboration with the MSE, for over a year.

The first admission has been awaited with great interest

“Prospects has flexibility in the process yet rigorous standards and criteria, a short timeframe for authorisation, no mandatory floating, low costs and a specific role for the corporate advisor – all of which are competitive advantages with respect to its peers, making this instrument attractive for the smaller segment of the SME universe,” Dr Degrassi said.

“In fact, SFA only considered the listing possibility because of the real advantages offered by Prospects.”

SFA is an SME working in the environmental field: the remediation of polluted and contaminated sites and land, both civil and industrial, using certified traditional and innovative technologies. Established in 1992, it has particular expertise in asbestos remediation, performing all the activities for permanent removal of asbestos, from the detection through the full recovery of the sites concerned. It has already cleared over 1,500 sites, and remediated 1.2 million tons of material.

“Notwithstanding its relatively small size, SFA quickly understood the unprecedented potential of sustainable growth provided by admission to Prospects. It has open-mindedly reinforced its corporate governance structure, implementing the necessary procedures to ensure a good level of transparency, compliance and disclosure as required by the Prospects rules.  This new status should support its strategy to approach international markets, particularly the Southern Mediterranean countries which are showing interesting growth rates,”

Subsequent to the admission, Demetra will independently support and advise SFA SpA to ensure continued compliance with the Prospects rules.

The corporate adviser was optimistic that other SMEs would take advantage of an MSE listing: “In recent months we had a number of dedicated meetings with professional and entrepreneurial organisations as well as university departments specifically involved with innovative start-ups. All of them see this instrument as highly attractive and appropriate for the actual needs of the SMEs in this phase of the economic cycle. The first admission has been awaited with great interest,” he smiled.

The MSE chairman, Joseph Portelli, expressed great satisfaction that the first company was being admitted to Prospects.  He said that there were a number of applications being processed and he expected the Prospects market to develop further, reflecting the importance of the SME segment to the local economy.

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