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SBCI announces new partnership with Close Brothers to bring €30m in new low-cost funding to Irish SMEs

Close Brothers becomes 6th lender to join Government’s €800m Future Growth Loan Scheme and SBCI’s 13th on-lending partner

18 Feb 2021

18 February 2021

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) announces that Close Brothers has become the 6th lender to join the Government’s Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS).

The Scheme, which will see the roll out of €800 million in lending, is funded through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, delivered by the SBCI, and supported by the European Investment Fund and the European Investment Bank. It is available to eligible SME and Small Mid-Cap businesses, including those in the primary agriculture (farming) and seafood (fishing) sectors in Ireland, to support strategic long-term investment.

The SBCI has allocated €30 million of the FGLS fund to Close Brothers, which is now accepting applications from a broad range of SMEs. Through this partnership with the SBCI, Close Brothers will support capital expenditure and promote business investment for development, expansion and improvement through competitively priced loans, with terms ranging from seven to ten years. All loans are secured with an 80% guarantee from the SBCI.

Close Brothers becomes the SBCI’s 13th on-lending partner. The SBCI aims to enhance competition in the SME funding market by supporting a combination of banks and non-bank lenders, as well as a mix of long-established institutions and newer entrants to the market.

Over 32,000 SMEs have benefited from almost €1.7 billion in lower cost flexible funding drawn down through SBCI-backed initiatives to date.

Close Brothers is a leading provider of finance for SMEs and larger businesses across Ireland. It has offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast. Its Irish business is a subsidiary of Close Brothers Group plc, a UK-headquartered banking group that is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE-250.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said:

“The past few months have been a period of profound disruption for Irish businesses, but the positive response we’ve seen to the Future Growth Loan Scheme tells us that many Irish businesses are already looking to the future. These businesses are making decisions now about the investments they need for the long-term. Close Brothers’ decision to join the Scheme will give businesses more choice when it comes to accessing financing for strategic investment.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said:

“The Future Growth Loan Scheme has provided farmers, fishers and food businesses with a source of long-term, unsecured investment finance that was previously unavailable in the market here. There has been a high level of demand from the agri-food sector and I welcome the addition of Close Brothers as a lender, which will bring another option to those seeking to participate in the Scheme. Although we are all dealing with the current challenges of Covid-19, it is good to see investment for the future, which shows the high level of ambition in the sector.”

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said:

I welcome today’s announcement that the Future Growth Loan Scheme will now be available from Close Brothers. The Future Growth Loan Scheme provides the finance that SMEs need to invest for the future. It will assist them in growing their businesses and making the changes that they need to grow and prosper. The addition of Close Brothers to the SBCI’s stable of finance partners will increase competition in the SME lending market, and I welcome this development.

SBCI Interim Chief Executive Ian Black said:

“The SBCI is delighted to team up with Close Brothers, a major lender with a strong and growing presence in Ireland. Today’s announcement is good news for Irish SMEs because it gives them more choice and easier access to low-cost funding through the Future Growth Loan Scheme. As well as driving the delivery of the Future Growth Loan Scheme, this represents a significant step in promoting competition in the provision of finance to small businesses. The support offered by the Scheme will allow Close Brothers to create a compelling offering for SMEs and small mid-caps that need competitive finance offerings to grow their business.”

Managing Director, Close Brothers Ireland Ciaran McAreavey said:

“We are delighted to have partnered with the SBCI to provide €30 million of new commercial funding. As a leading specialist lender in Ireland, we’re committed to delivering effective, tailor-made finance packages, and work closely with businesses to develop solutions that meet their requirements. The FGLS provides an additional opportunity to help growing SMEs thrive with competitively priced loans.”

European Investment Bank Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen said:

“Europe and leading Irish financial partners are strengthening crucial support for Irish companies. The European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund are pleased to support SBCI’s Future Growth Loan Scheme that is helping companies across Ireland to withstand the combined challenges of Brexit and COVID. Close Brothers will ensure that their business customers benefit from the Future Growth Loan Scheme.”

The Future Growth Loan Scheme benefits from a guarantee from the European Union under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Further information and details on eligibility can be found on the SBCI website.