Coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme


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From Monday 20 April 2020 medium-sized and larger businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak will be able to apply for loans under the UK Government's Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS+). 

CLBILS+ is intended to plug the gap that had been identified for companies which are not eligible for CBILS or the CCFF and to support mid cap and larger businesses that don’t meet a lender’s normal lending requirements for a fully commercial loan or other facility, but who are considered viable in the longer-term. Sole traders and freelancers are also eligible for support provided their business activity is operated through a business account.

Who is eligible for CLBILS+?

Businesses will be eligible to apply for loans under CLBILS+ provided that:

  • their business activities are UK based
  • they have an annual turnover of more than £45 million
  • they can self-certify that they have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (Covid-19)
  • they have not received a facility under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)
  • they have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty.

Any businesses considering applying for a CLBILS+ loan should keep in mind that the lenders providing loans under the CLBILS+ scheme continue to be responsible for assessing the viability of the loan applications which they receive as all lending decisions remain fully delegated to the lenders accredited by the British Business Bank to make CLBILS+ loans available. And although the advice is to approach your existing lender, provided it is an accredited lender, first if you require a CLBILS+ loan, borrowers can shop around and approach other accredited lenders. 

Even though a borrower may be applying for a CLBILS+ loan, lenders will be required to carry out some of the checks that they would ordinarily carry out when a business applies for a loan including suitability and affordability checks. Borrowers will need to tell lenders how much they want to borrow, what the money is needed for and how long they want to borrow the money for.

In addition to this, borrowers will need to provide evidence to support the loan application. As with normal business loan applications this may include some or all of management accounts, cash flow forecasts, a business plan, historic accounts and details of their assets. Exactly what will be required will vary from lender to lender.

As with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which is available to businesses with a turnover of less than £45 million, businesses in certain sectors are not eligible for loans under CLBILS+. Businesses in the following sectors cannot apply for loans under the CLBILS+:

  • Credit institutions (falling within the remit of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive), insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • Building societies
  • Public sector bodies
  • Further education establishments, if they are grant-funded
  • State-funded primary and secondary schools

What support is available?

A lender can provide:

  • loans of up to £25 million to businesses with a group turnover of between £45 million and £250 million; and
  • loans of up to £50 million to businesses with a group turnover of over £250 million.

The upper limit of a turnover of £500 million which was originally proposed has been removed as well as the amounts that eligible businesses can borrow being increased however there are limits on the amounts which eligible borrowers can borrow under the scheme. The amounts borrowed should not be greater than:

  • double the borrower’s annual wage bill for the most recent year available;
  • 25% of the borrower’s total turnover for the most recent year available; or
  • based on self-certification of the borrower, the amount required to cover its liquidity needs for the next 12 months provided it can provide appropriate justification.

Businesses can apply for term loans, revolving credit facilities (including overdrafts), invoice finance and asset finance and, as with CBILS, lenders making CLBILS+ loans available are being given a government-backed partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding balance of the facility.

Loans are available for a term of anything from three months to three years but each borrower remains fully liable for repayment of the loans which it takes out as well as the payment of interest and fees charged by the lender.

How is CLBILS+ different to CBILS?

Loans under CLBILS+ are available to UK-based businesses with an annual group turnover of £45 million or more that have not taken up or are not eligible for support under the CCFF whereas CBILS loans can only be made to UK-based businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45 million.

Businesses eligible for loans under the CBILS scheme can borrow term loans and asset finance facilities of up to £5 million for a term of up to six years and overdrafts and invoice finance facilities of up to £5 million for a term of up to three years. Business eligible for loans under the CLBILS+ scheme can, depending on their annual group turnover, borrow up to £50 million for a term of three years, regardless of what type of loan facility they are looking to take out.
CLBILS+ loans will not be covered by the Government's Business Interruption Payments scheme and so borrowers will be liable for interest throughout the term of the loan and will need to meet the costs of any fees levied by lenders in respect of the facility. Borrowers who are eligible for CBILS loans benefit from the Business Interruption Payments which cover interest and fees payable on their loans in the first 12 months.  

Lenders can offer finance on normal commercial terms to businesses applying for CLBILS+ loans.

Conclusion

The support being offered to UK-based businesses, whether through CBILS, CLBILS+ or the CCFF is designed to help them trade through the unprecedented challenges which they are facing as a consequence of Covid-19 but it remains to be seen whether impacted companies are sufficiently certain that their businesses will rebound in a way that gives them confidence to borrow under the schemes on offer. 

Click here to view our earlier insight which looked at the CCFF and CBILS schemes introduced by The Bank of England.

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