Extended bridging loan for Flemish companies available from today
Flemish companies in acute liquidity distress can make use of an extended bridging loan - a form of borrowing at a cheap rate. This was reported by Flemish Employment minister Jo Brouns on Monday. This is one of the measures in the September declaration to cope with the hefty energy costs.
The bridging loan has already been available from the VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship) agency since February. These are loans at 1.5 percent interest that allow a small enterprise (< 50 employees) to borrow up to 200,000 euros. For medium-sized enterprises (50-250 employees), it is up to 400,000 euros. For loans up to 50,000 euros, the term is 24 months and for amounts above that it is 36 months. No repayments have to be made during the first 12 months.
According to Brouns, these loans were frequently used by entrepreneurs from all sectors and received very positive feedback. For instance, the measure was first used under the Temporary Framework Covid-19, in which applications could be submitted until 15 June 2022. From this, 1,015 approved files followed for a total amount of 100 million euros. Since 1 August, bridging loans within the framework of measures around Ukraine are also available. Within this framework, loans worth 14 million euros have been approved.
The measure now gets a follow-up: the maximum loan amount for SMEs has gone up to 750,000 euros. This will eliminate the distinction between small and medium-sized enterprises, both of which will be able to borrow up to 750,000 euros. A condition is that there is sufficient repayment capacity and that the amount borrowed does not exceed 15 percent of the average annual turnover of the past three years.
Flemish minister of Employment Jo Brouns. - © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM