Fed up with their banks' reluctance to lend, an Italian dairy cooperative has raised 6 million euros by issuing bonds guaranteed by huge wheels of Parmesan cheese.
"We already have some loans but, after a certain point, the banks don't want to give you any more," said Andrea Setti, the financial controller of the 4 Madonne cooperative.
The cooperative, based near Modena in northern Italy, produces the famous cheese from milk supplied by some 40 dairy farmers.
It has seen business boom in recent years with production rising to 75,000 wheels a year and turnover hitting 24 million euros in 2014.
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