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March 7, 2021
BUSINESS BUSINESS COMPANIES ECONOMY EDITORIAL LEGAL OUTLOOK OPINION POINTS OF VIEW

COVID-19 : State guarantees for SMEs’ loans

The financial mechanism for the transfer of the amounts accounting for subsidies granted by the State to companies under the State aid scheme, part of the relief package for supporting SMEs in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been approved by the Order of the Ministry of Public Finances no. 1886 published in the Official Gazette no. 343 as of April 28, 2020.

The same Order also approves the Guarantee and Payment Convention for State granted subsidies under the support program for SMEs – IMM Invest Romania.

Thus, the aggregate amount accounting for guarantees to be granted by the State under this program is of RON 15 billion.

For the record, GEO no. 42/2020 (for amending and supplementing GEO no.110/2017 regarding the program for supporting the small and medium-sized enterprises – IMM Invest Romania, as well as for the approval of the State aid scheme for supporting the activities of SMEs ), published in the Official Gazette no. 283/2020, laid down a series of measures aimed at providing SMEs the necessary underlying cash flow for sustaining their activity as long as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to impair the economy.

 

STATE GUARANTEES

 

The Government grants state guarantees as high as 80% or even 90% of the value of investment and /or working capital loans signed up for by SMEs, as following:

  1. State guaranties amounting to 80% of the value of one or several investment and /or working capital loans signed up for by SMEs (interests, fees and bank charges excluded);

The maximum value of the loans for financing the working capital cannot exceed RON 5,000,000 while for investment loans the aggregate maximum amount is RON 10,000,000.

Companies are allowed to sign up for several loans / credit lines under the program guaranteed by the State, provided that the maximum aggregate amount of such funding (interests, fees and bank charges excluded) is not higher than RON 10,000,000.

  1. State guaranties up to 90% of the value of one or several loans / credit lines funding working capital (interests, fees and bank charges excluded) granted to microenterprises and small-sized enterprises.

 

The maximum aggregate amount of loans and / or credit lines for working capital funding is capped at RON 500,000 for microenterprises and RON 1,000,000 for small-sized enterprises.

Still, the two types of State guarantees (80% or 90%) for loans signed up for by companies are capped at the higher value of the following:

-The double of the amount representing the salary expenses, including the compulsory social contributions due by the employer related to the salary income and income assimilated to the salaries, registered at the level of 2019. In the case of the companies established after January 1, 2019, the maximum amount of the loan cannot exceed the estimated amount for the first 2 years of activity.

-25% of the company’s net turnover for 2019, respectively the gross income / annual income norm for individuals obtaining income from independent activities;

-A value that results from the beneficiary’s liquidity needs for the following 18 months for covering working capital costs and investments costs.

The maximum duration of such funding is 72 months (120 months pursuant to the prior regulation) with a maximum 18-month long grace period for investment loans and 36 months for working capital loans, renewal for another 36-month term is possible.

Additionally to the State guarantees hereinabove mentioned, the Government also provides grants-in-aids covering at 100% the interests pertaining to loans, conditional upon certain limits be observed.

 

  1. Eligible beneficiaries of State guarantees

 

Qualify for such stimulus companies satisfying certain conditions:

-Not to be in obvious distress; for example for LTD or JSC – having not lost more than half of their share capital during the past 2 years and more than 1/4 during the past 12 months; this rule does not apply to startups (that have not filed financial statements) or to companies whose the shareholders, at least a part thereof, are bound by unlimited liability with respect to the debts of the company, if it has not lost more than half of its share capital during the past 2 years and more than 1/4 during the past 12 months;

-Not to be part in a dispute with the Ministry of the Public Finances and / or the partner credit institution;

-Not to be registered as defaulting on loans during the past 6 months, before December 31, 2019;

-Not to be under a ban on issuing cheques on December 31, 2019 and be in the clear with respect to major incidents with promissory notes during the past 6 months;

-Not to be under insolvency;

-To provide collaterals to the credit institutions (for investment loans);

-To be eligible, pursuant to the legal provisions;

-Not to have outstanding fiscal debts. Should the beneficiary have such debts then it undertakes to use funds to be obtained (loan / credit line) to pay such debts;

-To undertake to preserve the work places existing at the date of entering into force of the GEO no. 42/2020 until December 31, 2020. The company is allowed to set up working hours of the employees according to the evolution of the day-to-day activities of the company.

Applications for benefitting from State granted guarantees shall be submitted online, on the platform https://www.fngcimm.ro/.

 

STATE GRANT-IN-AID

 

Subsidies for interests, management fees and risk related management fees are granted since the loan / credit line is available and until December 31, 2020 with a renewal possibility for the 2 following years.

For SMEs, subsidies for interests, management fees and risk related management fees are capped at EUR 80,000 (the equivalent in RON) by company.

State aids amounting to EUR 120,000 per company may be granted to companies pursuing a fish farming or aquaculture activity. Companies pursuing a primary production of agricultural products activity may benefit from a EUR 100,000 state aid.

The selection of beneficiaries and the issuance of guarantee letters / funding agreements are to be carried out until December 31, 2020. Subsidies shall be paid from the date of entering into force of the GEO no.42/2020 and until March 31, 2021, the extension period included.

State grant-in-aid stimulus package amounts to RON 781 million, the equivalent in RON of EUR 161 million.

 

GRUIA DUFAUT LAW OFFICE

Attorneys at law (Paris & Bucharest)

www.gruiadufaut.com

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