COVID-19 Support for Large Businesses

BLOG16th Apr 2020

The G=government has announced a substantial emergency package to support the long-term survival of UK businesses. It is essential that businesses are aware of the support packages made available by the Government and that they obtain support quickly in order to minimise business disruption and to steer them through the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. AAB has summarised below the support available to UK large businesses:

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (“CLBILS”) – Please note that the scheme closed to new applicants on 31 March 2021

CLBILS provides financial support of up to £50m to mid-sized and larger UK businesses across the UK that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other Support Schemes

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (“CCFF”) – Please note that CCFF closed to new applications on 31 December 2020

  • New lending facility, provided by the Bank of England to provide a quick and cost-effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short term debt
  • The CCFF provided funding to businesses by purchasing commercial paper of up to one year maturity, issued by firms making a “material contribution” to the UK economy
  • It was to help businesses across a range of sectors to pay wages and suppliers, even while experiencing severe disruption to cashflows
  • The facility purchased sterling-denominated commercial paper with the following characteristics:
    • Maturity of one week to twelve months
    • Where available, a credit rating of A-3 / P-3 / F-3 / R3 from at least one of Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch and DBRS Morningstar as at 1 March 2020
    • Issued directly into Euroclear and/or Clearstream
  • CCFF could be used by Companies – and their finance subsidiaries – that make a material contribution to the UK economy were able to participate in the facility. Companies must do this via a bank. There is more detail on this in the following questions:
  • In practice, firms that meet this requirement would normally be: UK incorporated companies, including those with foreign-incorporated parents and with a genuine business in the UK; companies with significant employment in the UK; firms with their headquarters in the UK. They will also consider whether the company generates significant revenues in the UK, serves a large number of customers in the UK or has a number of operating sites in the UK.
  • If firms do not have an existing credit rating from the major credit ratings agencies, one potential route to evidencing credit status is for your firm or your bank to get in touch with one of the major credit rating agencies to seek an assessment of credit quality in a form that can be shared with BoE and HM Treasury, noting that you are doing so because you wish to use the CCFF.
  • If businesses would like to use the facility and have not issued commercial paper before, they should contact their incumbent bank in the first instance. It is important to note that not all banks issue commercial paper. If the incumbent bank does not issue commercial paper, UK Finance has provided a list of those banks that are able to assist.

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Thompson or your usual AAB contact.

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