Support measures to companies and credit line Capitalizar 2018 – COVID 19

Manuel MagalhãesPartner, Sérvulo & Associados

In response to the difficulties faced by the companies whose activity is affected by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portuguese Government has approved, by the Council of Ministers Resolution no. 10-A/2020, of 13 March (amended by the Council of Ministers Resolution no. 11-A/2020, of 23 March), a set of measures to provide cash-flow support to companies, as well as an incentives package, comprising acceleration of incentives payments, deferral of subsidies amortizations and eligibility of expenses which are proven to have been incurred by the beneficiaries in cancelled or delayed initiatives or actions due to COVID-19. 

  1. Companies’ support measures

a) Acceleration of incentives’ payment: the payment of the incentives due shall occur in the shortest term possible after the submission of payments requests by the companies. It is even accepted that the amounts are received as advance payments, being later regularized upon the clearance of the incentives which are in fact due by the intermediate body/paying body (without any formalities burden to the beneficiaries);

b) Deferral of subsidies amortizations: the deferral of the payment of outstanding amounts related to repayable subsidies granted within the incentives scheme of the “Quadro de Referência Estratégico Nacional” (“QREN”) or “Portugal 2020” for a 12-months term, until 30 September 2020, without the charge of any interest or other penalty (cfr. Article 30-B (2) e) of the Ministerial Order no. 57-A/2015, of 27 February).

Additionally, the negative impact of Covid-19 resulting in the non-achievement of actions or milestones may be classified as force majeure events, for the purposes of assessment of the contractual objectives set under the incentives scheme of “Portugal 2020” (cfr. Article 14 (3) of the Ministerial Order no. 57-A/2015, of 27 February).

c) Eligibility of expenses: the expenses which are proven to have been incurred by the beneficiaries in cancelled or delayed initiatives or actions due to COVID-19, included in the projects approved by “Portugal 2020” or in other operational programs, namely in internationalization and professional training areas, as well as by the Instituto do Vinho e da Vinha, I.P., under the measure for supporting the promotion of wine in third-countries (non-EU members), are eligible for reimbursement. 

  1. Credit Lines 

i. Context

Aiming to preserve the production capacity of the companies, to protect labor and the economic activity for recovery in post-pandemic phase, and in addition to the measures set forth in the abovementioned Council of Ministers Resolution, the Government has announced, in a press release by the Minister of the State, the Economy and the Digital Transition (of 18 March 2020), four new credit lines, to be made available through participating banks and secured by the Portuguese State (which have been already approved by the European Commission).

These credit lines will be added to the general scope credit line (Credit Line Capitalizar 2018-Covid 19, in the amount of €200.000.000, currently increased to €400.000.000), which encompasses all economic sectors, retail, industry and services, and that it is already available since last week.

In total, the new Credit Lines amount to 3 thousand million euros of additional financing to the economy and shall be allocated, at this stage, to the following specific sectors:

Sector of Activity

Amount

Restaurants and similar

€600.000.000, from which €270.000.000 for micro and small sized companies

Tourism – travel agencies; tourism entertainment; events organization and similar

€200.000.000, from which €75.000.000 for micro and small sized companies

Tourism – resorts and accommodation

€900.000.000, from which €300.000.000 for micro and small sized companies

Industry – textile; clothing; shoes; extracting industries (ornamental rocks) and wood and cork

€1.300.000.000, from which €400.000.000 for micro and small sized companies

 

ii. Credit Line Capitalizar 2018-Covid 19 – Beneficiaries

The companies which intend to benefit from the Credit Line shall fulfil the following requirements and submit, et. al., the following:

  • Qualify as (i) micro, small or medium sized company (certified by the electronic declaration of IAPMEI), or (ii) large company (not certified by IAPMEI) and be, at least, in a credit situation comparable to B-;
  • Have its headquarters in Portugal;
  • Develop activities with an eligible Economic Activity Code (“Código de Atividades Económicas” or “CAE”) for the purposes of the Credit Line Capitalizar 2018;
  • Have a positive balance sheet, in the last approved accounts, or, if negative, the company may access to the credit line if it has a positive interim balance sheet approved until the date of the operation’s framing;
  • Have fulfilled its obligations towards financial institutions, Tax Authority and Social Security, at the date of the financing agreement; 

iii. Eligible operations

The Credit Line Capitalizar 2018-Covid 19 aims to finance companies in two fronts:

  • “Covid-19 – Fundo de Maneio” (Working Capital), with operations meant to finance working capital needs;
  • “Covid-19 – Plafond Tesouraria” (Cash-Flow), with operations mean to exclusively finance needs of cash-flow.

iv. Maximum amount

Each company may receive up to the maximum amount of €3.000.000, divided by the two abovementioned available allocations: €1.500.000 under the allocation “Covid-19 – Fundo de Maneio”; and €1.500.000 under the allocation “Covid-19 – Plafond Tesouraria”. 

v. Non-eligible operations

Certain operations have been expressly excluded from the scope of the Credit Line Capitalizar 2018-Covid 19:

  • Financial restructuring and/or consolidation of credit outstanding;
  • Operations meant to repay or replace, directly or indirectly, even if in different conditions, funding previously granted by the relevant credit institution;
  • Acquisition of real-estate assets, used assets, light duty vehicles which are not classified as production resources and heavy-duty vehicles acquired by road haulers on behalf of third parties; nonetheless:
    • The beneficiary companies which carry out primary sector activities (agriculture, livestock, forestry and extractive industries) may acquire real-estate assets, as well as registrable movable assets, as long as such assets are proven to be allocated to the production activity;
    • It is allowed the acquisition of real-estate assets which are allocated to the business, provided that the companies do not develop an activity of the 68 CAE division and that the maximum amount of the financing for such acquisition does not exceeds half of the total financing.
  • Financial operations related to exporting activities for third-countries and Member States, namely, the creation and operation of distribution networks. 

vi. Credit operations’ conditions

Conditions

Covid-19 – Fundo de Maneio

Covid-19 – Plafond tesouraria

Amount

€1.500.000

€1.500.000

Operation type

Short and medium-term bank loans

Revolving financing (excluding guarantee operations)

Operation term

Up to 4 years after the financing agreement

1, 2 or 3 years

For the operations with a term longer than 1 year: the participating credit institutions or the “Sociedades de Garantia Mútua” may:

– establish the right to terminate the agreement in the end of each 12-months term, by a 30 to 60 days prior notice;

– reduce the approved plafonds in said termination dates.

Interest rate

Fixed or variable + spread between 1,928% and 3,278%

Fixed or variable + spread between 1,943% and 3,278%

Grace period

Up to 12 months

Not applicable (reusable plafond)

Capital repayments

Equal and successive instalments, paid at the end of each month/ quarter or semester

Not applicable

Use term

Up to 12 months (with a maximum of 3 utilizations)

Continuous use until the agreed term and up to the agreed plafond

 

vii. Application process

The company which aim to obtain funds under this Credit Line shall contact one of the 21 participating credit institutions, amongst which Abanca, Banco BIC, BBVA, BPI, BCP, Banco Invest, Banco Português de Gestão, Santander Totta, Bankinter, CCAM, CCAMC, CCAML, CCAMM, Montepio, CGD, Novo Banco dos Açores and Novo Banco.

After its own approval of the operation, the credit institution sends the application to Sociedade de Garantia Mútua, who analyses the process for obtaining the guarantee. Then, Sociedade de Garantia Mútua shall communicate its decision within approximately 7 to 12 business days (depending if the operation has an amount below or higher than €200.000).

After Sociedade de Garantia Mútua’s approval, the application is sent by the credit institution to PME Investimentos, who shall confirm the framing of the operation within 5 business days.

Finally, after such confirmation, the approved operation may be formally agreed between the credit institution and the company, within 60 business days (such term may be extended for more 20 business days, upon reasoned request).

The applications to Credit Line Capitalizar 2018-Covid 19 have opened on 12 March 2020, at 8.30 am and the duration period of this credit line ends on 31 May 2020.

Sofia Thibaut Trocado | stt@servulo.com