Italy extends maturity of state-guaranteed loans for smaller firms - lawmaker

ROME (Reuters) - Smaller Italian companies will have up to 10 years, not just six as initially envisaged, to repay state-guaranteed loans which are being made available under an emergency liquidity scheme to face the COVID-19 crisis, a lawmaker told Reuters on Friday.

Raphael Raduzzi, from the ruling 5-Star Movement, said members of parliament had also raised to 30,000 euros from 25,000 the maximum value of bank loans reserved for small firms on which Rome is offering a 100% guarantee.

Rome approved in April an emergency decree offering a set of state guarantees on up to 400 billion euros of new bank loans, as the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the COVID-19 infection pushed Italy into a deep recession.

The decree is being amended as it makes its way through parliament to be converted into law.

The government coalition has also voted to slightly widen access to the measures for companies that were already struggling before February, when the COVID-19 epidemic came to light, Raduzzi said.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Gareth Jones