Impetum Group, a fast-growing Romanian financial group, has launched Agista, the first investment fund in Romania focused on helping local SMEs to get listed on the stock market. In the next two years, the fund aims to finance some 20 local small and medium companies and accelerate their growth by listing them on the Bucharest Stock Exchange’s AeRO market. Agista sets out with a EUR 25 million capitalization, nearly half of the entire capital raised by the AeRO market companies in 2021.
Through this fund, Impetum Group aims to bridge the vast cash resources in the local market – EUR 33.5 billion in bank deposits owned by individuals – with the equity financing deficit of local SMEs, which is estimated at EUR 4.64 billion. If only 1% of the capital available in bank deposits were to enter the capital market annually, it would have a significant impact in covering this deficit, according to the group’s representatives.
“In recent years, the Bucharest Stock Exchange has experienced a development correlated with our efforts and those of the entire community to stimulate the use of the capital market for financing Romanian companies. From this perspective, the AeRO market has had an essential role in bringing us even closer to the entrepreneurs and their developing companies, and last year’s evolution, as well as 2022 – Q1, is tangible proof in this regard. We are talking about 27 companies listed on AeRO, drawing in EUR 70 million in capital, and another 27 bond issues worth EUR 63.1 million,” stated Radu Hanga, President of the Bucharest Stock Exchange.
He added: “The positive evolution of the AeRO market is also reflected in the launch of the first index dedicated to this market, BET AeRO, and the establishment of the first investment fund dedicated to the AeRO market by Impetum Group is yet another step towards consolidating it as a growth market for SMEs.”
In contrast to the limitations and difficulties faced by SMEs in terms of traditional financing, the capital market provides attractive mechanisms for accessing the financing needed to generate the envisaged growth. However, capital market instruments do not enjoy the popularity they deserve among companies: 60% of managers know “little” or “very little” about BSE and its activity, and only 12% have access to financing through the capital market.
“The experience and practice within the Impetum Group community have taught us that when businesses manage to scale their success in a sustainable manner, it has a positive impact on the entire society. It is precisely for the purpose of bearing a hand in the education and maturity of the Romanian capital market, that we have created, through Agista, the first Romanian institutional instrument dedicated to robust companies wishing to develop through listing on the local stock exchange,” said Andrei Cionca, Impetum Group CEO and co-founder.
Agista’s core business will consist of PRE-IPO investments, as well as listed shares of companies showing potential. The fund will also provide complementary expertise to Romanian entrepreneurs to accelerate their businesses and to open access to a relevant business ecosystem.
“Agista will act as an anchor investor, with an aim to hold minority packages in companies with a turnover of EUR 3-15 million. The investment ticket will be EUR 500,000 – 2.5 million, and Agista will act from a strategic place, at board level, in terms of company development,” said Nicolae Kovacs, Agista CEO.
Agista Management was registered as an alternative investment fund manager on March 10, 2022, and the fund is currently undergoing authorization by the financial regulator – ASF.
The executive team includes Nicolas Pleșea – Senior Investment Manager, who has been active in the financial field for 15 years, and Aurel Podariu – Senior Investment Manager, with 14 years of experience in the management of companies in difficulty, but also in business development.
Agista also plans to develop an acceleration program dedicated to small businesses. Through this program, Agista will support small companies in accelerating their managerial skills and abilities, in an entrepreneurial spirit and a practical way.
Starting today, Agista joins Impetum Group’s mission to develop a new entrepreneurial culture based on access to the capital market.
Impetum Group, which has developed around one of the biggest insolvency houses in Romania – CITR, turned into an active investor in Romanian companies starting 2018 when it launched its first investment fund focused on distressed companies and private equity investments – ROCA. One year later, it launched RocaX, a venture capital fund targeting local startups. So far, the group has drawn and invested about EUR 42 million in over 40 companies.
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