Gardant, the new Group entirely specialised in credit servicing and investment in illiquid and impaired loans, will "become operative in the next few weeks" under the chair of Flavio Valeri, former CEO of Deutsche Bank Italia.

The controlling shareholder of the new group continues to be the American investment fund Elliott, through its subsidiary Tiber Investments S.a r.l., with a stake of approximately 87%. Members of the management team and other private investors hold the remaining 13%.

Gardant will operate with three main offices in Rome, Milan and Genoa, as well as numerous offices located throughout the country.

In a statement, Gardant said it was the result of the corporate reorganisation and the spin-off from Credito Fondiario of all the debt servicing and debt purchasing activities (contracts, resources, platforms, capital) developed over the last few years to become one of the significant operators in Italy in this sector.

The new Group will be led by Mirko Briozzo as CEO of the parent company Gardant, and by Guido Lombardo as CEO of Gardant Investors. They are both part of the team that acquired and launched the relaunch of Credito Fondiario in 2013, most recently holding the roles of deputy general manager and director/chief investment officer respectively.

Valeri, who has a long career in commercial and investment banking, has been appointed as Chairman of Gardant. Antonino Turicchi, former general manager of CDP and with various senior roles in the public sector, has been appointed chairman of Gardant Investor.

Bruno Manzone, professional and founder of Studio Legale Manzone, has been appointed chairman of Master Gardant.

Massimo Cremona, professor at the Cattolica University of Milan and professional with considerable experience in the world of banking, insurance and finance, has been appointed chairman of the Board of Auditors of Gardant and other Group companies.

Valeri said: "Today, we are announcing the birth of an entity that already manages over EUR 45 billion of loans and is already a leader in Italy in the area of distressed credit.

I am proud to be part of such an innovative and well-positioned Group in a market, such as the Italian one, which has very interesting growth prospects for the future."

Briozzo said: "The decision to separate the debt servicing and debt purchasing business from the strictly banking one is functional to the ambitious business objectives we have set ourselves in a sector - which will continue to grow - supporting banks and the country- supporting banks and the country's economy, freeing economic resources otherwise trapped and attracting new capital.

"We have a team of motivated and enthusiastic professionals, shareholders who have always supported us and partners with whom we have developed some of the most innovative solutions seen to date. We are closing a first phase, opening a second one that I am sure will be even more interesting and full of satisfaction. The name Gardant, inspired by etymologies related to actions such as ‘to defend' and ‘to protect', enriched by a heraldic shield, echoes and encapsulates our commitment to counterparties, investors and stakeholders."

The new Group will be divided into specialised companies:

• The parent company Gardant S.p.A., with holding and corporate centre functions, focusing on business development, capital markets, underwriting, portfolio management and data lab;

• Gardant Investor SGR S.p.A., an asset management company, specialised in the collection and management of alternative funds specialised in the credit sector;

• Master Gardant S.p.A., financial intermediary pursuant to Art. 106 TUB (Consolidated Law on Banks), market leader in products and services for securitisation vehicles pursuant to Law 130/99 and with focus on services supporting the management of performing and UTPs;

• Special Gardant S.p.A., a company pursuant to Art. 115 TULPS (Consolidated Text of Public Safety Laws), dedicated to judicial and extrajudicial credit recovery, with focus on SMEs and corporates, specialising in real estate and leasing, both on NPL and UTP positions (under management since 2017);

• Gardant Liberty Servicing S.p.A., a company pursuant to Art. 115 TULPS (Consolidated Text of Public Safety Laws), which is the joint venture in debt collection originating from the partnership with Banco BPM; Gardant holds 70% of the share capital, Banco BPM 30%.

"The new Group continues its investment activity after having invested almost EUR 1.2 billion in recent years. Gardant will meet all client needs and cover the entire value chain in the sector of impaired loans and the underlying sector" Guido Lombardo, CEO of Gardant Investor SGR, said.

"Compared to the past, we are equipping ourselves with an additional instrument, namely an asset management company specialised in investments in credit and in both industrial and real estate related risk. A flexible tool to set up innovative and attractive solutions for investors interested in the Italian market, which has potentially high returns, but which also has a particular degree of complexity to manage."

The Gardant Group consists of more than 300 professionals. It will manage over EUR 45 billion of receivables in total, with over EUR 20 billion of these as special servicer. In 2020, the special servicing division recorded over EUR 640 million in cash collections, while the investment division in recent years has supported the purchase of receivables with a total price tag of oover EUR 1.2 billion.

The Group's servicing platform was also upgraded twice in 2020 by the rating agencies S&P and Fitch (above average / S2+).