The Kredex foundation will start offering the first crisis relief measures to Estonian businesses in collaboration with banks next week as part of the government's €2 billion package of measures to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The implementation of the first crisis measures by Kredex will happen through banks and the services will open to businesses gradually. The manager of Kredex, Lehar Kutt, said that Kredex will help business operators through extraordinary loan underwriting and, if necessary, with extraordinary loans and will be ready to take greater risks.
"We set out packages of measures in accordance with various potential scenarios on how the crisis will evolve. Extraordinary loan underwriting for the issuance of new loans or easing the repayment timetables of existing bank loans will help businesses prevent or mitigate liquidity problems. This crisis can be overcome if all of us make an effort together. Business operators, the state sector and banks are working towards keeping our companies in business and thereby preserving as many jobs as possible," Kutt said.
Kredex will start issuing operating credit, investment loans and loan underwriting to a bigger extent when the necessary capital has been allocated to it with the supplementary budget and the Riigikogu has amended the law on support for enterprise and guaranteeing of loans by the state.
Issuance of loan underwritings on a smaller scale will start next week.
Minister of Information Technology and Foreign Trade Kaimar Karu said the first objective was to open the Kredex measures as soon as possible and to adjust the terms and conditions on an ongoing basis in the future if necessary.
"We will gather feedback from business operators on an ongoing basis about the suitability of the measures and will launch new measures if possible when we see that existing measures are unable to meet demand," Karu said.
He said it was important to emphasize the Kredex package was meant for small and medium sized businesses as well as big enterprises alike. In case of a danger of solvency problems, businesses are urged to immediately approach their home bank.
"It will be possible to access also Kredex measures via one's home bank," Karu said.
Kredex also has a separate measure available for companies that might be interested in expanding their operations.
"In several sectors the situation is favorable for the provision of innovative solutions, which probably will be helpful also for other local companies," Karu said.
Business operators are advised to first set out a plan themselves for how to bring their company out of difficulties. After that, they should turn to their bank and ask for a new loan or easing the repayment timetable of an existing loan. Almost all banks have expressed readiness to enable a grace period for businesses affected by the crisis.
Kredex is asking business operators to show understanding and give banks time to familiarize themselves with the terms of the new services.
If a positive solution cannot be reached with the above measures, it will be possible for a business operator to seek an extraordinary loan from Kredex. The opportunity to seek a loan from a bank should be used first by tapping into extraordinary loan underwriting by Kredex. Extraordinary direct loans can be applied for from April 3.
No money will be paid out before Kredex has received necessary capital from the state. That is not expected to happen before mid-April, as the passage of a supplementary budget by the Riigikogu is required for the provision of funds.
The target group of the services by Kredex are all Estonian companies with the exception of those active in the fields already previously precluded by Kredex. In addition, the company's financial standing must have been in order as at the end of 2019, meaning that it must not have got into trouble already before the crisis. The crisis measures are meant for businesses whose difficulties are caused directly or indirectly by the coronavirus outbreak.
Editor: Helen Wright