According to a new study by Unicredit Banca, some 6,000 Roman small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) risk bankruptcy and another 43,000 are already experiencing serious banking-related problems. Rome is described as Italys bankruptcy capital, accounting for 11 per cent of the countrys 11,000 cases in 2004. Only 29 per cent of the citys 144,000 SMEs are in the black. To make matters worse, obtaining loans will get harder as new accounting rules come into effect in January 2007. Very few of Romes SMEs are ready for the changeover and the local Lazio business federation, Federlazio, has asked for an extension of the transition period in which companies can adapt. If not, the increased costs and administrative difficulties of raising credit, the Unicredit Banca survey predicts, may force small businesses to resort to money-lenders to pay off their debts.
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