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Financial Shield: Aid to Large Enterprises

As part of the support programme for businesses to counteract the consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Poland, implemented by Polski Fundusz Rozwoju S.A. (Polish Development Fund, PFR), large enterprises may apply for financial support offered under the so-called Financial Shield.

Financing of large companies includes both debt and equity financing, and is handled directly by PFR.

Funding is made available to large enterprises in order to provide them with rapid access to liquidity, provide compensation for income losses or additional costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, provide capital for investment, and enable them to obtain financial stability to protect jobs and the financial security of people.

Type of support

Financial aid to large undertakings is individualized and can take the form of:

  • liquidity financing – in the form of an interest-bearing and non-forgivable liquidity loan;
  • preferential financing – in the form of a preferential loan, forgivable up to 75% of the loan amount;
  • arm’s length equity financing or aid equity financing – in the form of the purchase of shares by PFR, a convertible loan or convertible bonds.

A large undertaking may use more than one type of financing, provided that this does not violate the applicable regulations and decisions of the relevant bodies, including the European Commission, in particular those concerning the accumulation of State aid.

Applications for financing are submitted via the Internet, using the appropriate application form.

 

Conditions

Financing may be granted to a large enterprise that meets general and specific conditions for the particular type of aid (if any).

A company meets the general conditions if it:

  • is a large enterprise;
  • carries on business activity registered in Poland;
  • carried on business activity as at 31 December 2019;
  • was not in a difficult situation as at 31 December 2019 (this condition does not have to be met in the case of arm’s length equity financing);
  • has no tax or social security contribution arrears as at 31 December 2019 or as at the date of signing the financing documents
  • is not engaged in any operations involving: a) products or services that may lead to restrictions on or violations of individual freedoms or human rights; b) activities of credit institutions, cooperative savings and credit unions, investment firms, loan institutions, insurance companies, reinsurance companies, pension funds, investment funds and other collective investment undertakings and asset managers, payment service providers and other financial institutions and credit rating agencies; c) commercial real estate activities and real estate development; and d) issues of dubious ethical and moral character;
  • was not in liquidation, bankruptcy or restructuring on the date of application or on the date of signing the financing documents;
  • meets the conditions of being tax resident in the European Economic Area and its beneficial owner not being tax resident in any tax haven;
  • meets one of the following conditions:
  • has experienced a decline in turnover (sales revenue), in value terms, of at least 25% in any calendar month after 1 February 2020 compared to the previous calendar month or the same calendar month of the previous year, due to economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • has lost the ability to manufacture or provide services, or for its products or services to be collected by ordering parties, due to the unavailability of components or resources in connection with the pandemic;
  • is not receiving over 25% of its sales receivables, due to the pandemic;
  • has no access to the capital market or credit limits for new contracts due to disturbances in the financial market;
  • is a participant of the Sectoral Programmes;
  • has successfully passed the due diligence, confirmatory due diligence or vendor due diligence investigations.

When applying for liquidity financing, the undertaking should also submit a restructuring plan and financial projections, substantiating its goal of financial viability after the end of the crisis in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

When applying for arm’s length equity financing, the company should also present its long-term strategy, financial projections or a restructuring plan, substantiating its goal of financial viability.

However, undertakings applying for aid equity financing must meet the following further conditions:

  • without the aid, they would cease to operate or would have serious difficulties in continuing their business activity (such difficulties being reflected in particular in e.g. the deterioration of their debt-to-equity ratio or similar indicators);
  • they have already taken full advantage of financing available in the market, and public aid funds available in Poland, allowing them to cover liquidity needs, but this has turned out to be insufficient for them to continue as a going concern;
  • they have demonstrated that their loss of financial stability may cause serious social hardship or serious market failure, including at least one of the following:
  1. the unemployment rate in the region(s) concerned is either: i. higher than the Union average, persistent and accompanied by difficulty in creating new employment in the region(s) concerned, or ii. higher than the national average, persistent and accompanied by difficulty in creating new employment in the region(s) concerned;
  2. there is a risk of disruption to an important service which is hard to replicate and where it would be difficult for any competitor simply to step in (for example, a national infrastructure provider);
  3. the exit of an undertaking with an important systemic role in a particular region or sector would have potential negative consequences (for example as a supplier of an important input);
  4. there is a risk of permanent interruption to the continuity of provision of an SGEI;
  5. the failure or adverse incentives of credit markets would push an otherwise viable undertaking into bankruptcy;
  6. the exit of an undertaking from the market would lead to an irremediable loss of important technical knowledge or expertise;
  7. similar situations of severe hardship duly substantiated by an undertaking would arise.

 

Amount of financing

Pursuant to the Regulations of applying for aid under the Financial Shield government scheme of the Polish Development Fund (PFR) for large companies, the amount of financing granted to a large undertaking should be related to the actual damage suffered by that undertaking in connection with COVID-19, and to employment promotion.

Aid and arm’s length equity financing may not exceed PLN 1 billion.

Liquidity financing may not exceed:

  • PLN 1 billion;
  • twice an undertaking’s annual salary costs (including costs of employee benefits) in 2019;
  • 25% of an undertaking’s total turnover in 2019.

Preferential financing may not exceed:

  • PLN 750 million;
  • twice an undertaking’s annual salary costs (including costs of employee benefits) in 2019;
  • 25% of an undertaking’s total turnover in 2019.

 

End-use of financing

Undertakings may use the funds made available:

  • as part of liquidity and preferential financingfor working capital, in particular to finance:
  • trade liabilities, including the purchase of goods and materials (including advances on such purchases), or other operating costs of producing a product or service;
  • salaries;
  • public law liabilities;
  • other objectives, related to financing day-to-day activities, specified in a loan agreement and accepted by the Polish Development Fund (PFR).
  • as part of aid equity financing – for current operational activities, to restore a stable financing structure that has been upset by the need to limit or suspend production / services, and by demand shocks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular to finance:
  • working capital;
  • salaries and other operating costs;
  • public law liabilities.
  • as part of arm’s length equity financingfor the implementation of investments, in particular to:
  • finance an increase in the equity of an undertaking together with its current owner(s) in order to finance a merger or acquisition transaction;
  • finance the implementation or continuation of development investments;
  • finance investment outlays within agreed limits;
  • provide funds for an undertaking’s day-to-day operational activities, including to finance: (i) working capital, (ii) salaries and other operating costs, (iii) public law liabilities.

 

CONTACT US

Anna Gwiazda
Attorney at Law, Partner, Head of Labor Law Practice
T: +48 660 765 903
E: a.gwiazda@kochanski.pl

 


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