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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - Cassa Depositi e Prestiti case study: Abiomed: agriculture


“In our fields, in the warm Sicilian climate we produce all sorts of fruits and vegetables. From artichokes to carrots, peppers, zucchini, aubergines… but the top product is our cherry tomato,” says Luciano Caruso, Director at Abiomed, “We sell them fresh, sun-dried as tradition dictates, or even as a sauce.”

Luciano Caruso employs a dozen people to run Abiomed, an association of agricultural producers with 25-30 permanent agricultural workers. Founded in 2001 by 10 producers, it has grown to a network of 315 associated producers covering 7 provinces of Sicily. Today Abiomed has over 2300 hectares of land under cultivation in greenhouses and open fields.

For independent agriculturalists, accessing funding for their business can be challenging. Small agricultural businesses typically lack collateral or the necessary financial clout to secure and repay big bank loans.

With the help of an EU-guaranteed loan through Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, backed by the EIF, Abiomed was able to help their producers to avoid personal guarantees. “Our field of work is sometimes quite unpredictable. We face high risks every day, and a big part of our activity depends on weather conditions, so an unexpected hailstorm can ruin the harvest, wasting months of work. So any kind of support is always a welcome development. It can take some pressure off our shoulders,” explains Luciano “The process was very smooth, and within 2 months the business had their financing,” explains Luciano, “We were able to boost our stocks, buying fertilizer and packaging and various raw materials.”

Looking ahead, Abiomed will look into making productive investments to keep growing their business. “Good, locally-sourced food is itself a great investment in future generations,” Luciano adds, as he explains how the company has teamed up with local schools to work on a project that brings together sport and nutrition. “Producers play an active role in our community, collaborating with local schools and sports teams, helping to put on athletics, cycling, and volleyball activities, and campaigning at the same time about good nutrition for youth and athletes. Training starts at the table…”

Company: Abiomed

Type of business: agriculture

EIF financing: COSME LGF, EFSI

Financial intermediary: Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP)

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Italy, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/it


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