Milan, March 28th 2023
Azimut, an independent, global group in asset management, wealth management, investment banking and fintech, has promoted a club deal to invest in Alps Blockchain, a leading company in Italy in the development of the infrastructure behind blockchain.
Azimut's investment of €40 million was made through Azimut Enterprises S.r.l and Azimut Direct Investment Alps Blockchain SCSp, a dedicated Luxembourg vehicle that has enabled around 600 customers served by the Group's network of financial advisors and wealth managers in Italy to gain exposure to the growth of the sustainable blockchain sector. The transaction includes an equity component, through the purchase of a stake of around 45%, and a bond component with a convertible loan.
Alps Blockchain is a Trentino-based company specialising in mining research and development, with the aim of producing computing power for blockchain through the creation and management of state-of-the-art data centres powered by renewable energy sources. Founded in 2018, the company has introduced an innovative system in Italy that involves installing data centres inside hydroelectric power plants to directly convert water power into computing power, complementing the traditional power generation system.
To date, Alps Blockchain has built more than 20 data centres hosting a total of about 3,950 miners, hardware dedicated to mining. In addition to the data centres located within Italian hydroelectric power plants and coordinated as a provider, there are also those managed directly and located abroad, both under construction and already operational.
In just over four years, the company has experienced exponential growth and now aims to consolidate and implement its business model. The new capital will allow the company to invest in expansion and internationalisation projects, with the aim of increasing the current fleet of miners to around 12,000 latest-generation devices by 2023, equivalent to 1.5 exahash of capacity.
The operation also aims to promote the development of services to spread a sustainable culture related to blockchain and mining. Blockchain, which is destined to be used increasingly extensively in different sectors, from finance to logistics or from healthcare to food, is an energy-intensive technology, as it requires high computing power to validate transactions. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (Cbeci) the Bitcoin blockchain uses 14 gigawatts of electricity, which corresponds to a total annual electricity consumption of 122 terawatt-hours.
Giorgio Medda, CEO and Global Head of Asset Management & Fintech of the Azimut Group, comments: "We are thrilled to have realised this transaction through which Azimut invests directly and with our customers not only in an all-Italian excellence of sustainable technological development but also in the digital future and young talent of our country. With Alps Blockchain we further strengthen our positioning and our view on blockchain, digital assets and decentralised finance as new frontiers of investment and operational capabilities towards which the digital transformation is pushing the Asset Management industry".
Francesco Buffa, CEO Alps Blockchain, says: "At Alps Blockchain, we firmly believe in the potential of this technology and the need to develop increasingly efficient and sustainable approaches. So we took the initiative to unite the world of blockchain and mining with the world of renewables, developing a solution in Italy aimed at supporting the hydropower sector and offering a new business opportunity to energy producers that will help keep their historical plants profitable once government incentives have ended. The new synergy with Azimut represents a significant milestone that will allow us to continue along the strategic path we have undertaken, consolidating our presence at national level and accelerating growth in international markets, such as South America'.
Francesca Failoni, CFO Alps Blockchain, adds: "The increase in resources will allow us to participate in and contribute more substantially to the functioning of the blockchain network, fostering the development of solid and sustainable projects over time. Thanks to this financial operation, we will not only be able to increase and make our existing data centres more efficient, but also invest in the construction of new facilities, aiming to quadruple the production capacity of computing power at the service of this technology by the end of the year."
Azimut was assisted by the law firm Gianni & Origoni, Alps Blockchain was assisted by Deloitte STS as tax advisor and Deloitte Legal as legal advisor.