In mid-April 2020, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego announced that it will be launching a Liquidity Guarantee Fund which will be used to underwrite credit facilities for business enterprises as part of the anti-crisis shield. This scheme is intended to shore up lending by banks to ensure continued liquidity for Polish enterprises; its aggregate value may be as high as PLN 100 bln.

Detailed terms of recourse to the Liquidity Guarantee Fund have now been posted to the Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego website. Working on this basis, we present answers to some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the new guarantee scheme.

To whom is Liquidity Guarantee Fund aid addressed ?

The Liquidity Guarantee Fund is intended to support medium-sized and large enterprises. 

A medium-sized enterprise is one which, in at least one of the past two financial years, fulfilled both of the following conditions:

  1. Maintained an average annual employee headcount of between 50 and 249 people and
  2. Achieved annual net sales turnover between EUR 10 mln and EUR 50 mln and/or balance sheet assets as at the end of the year between EUR 10 and EUR 43 mln. 

A large enterprise, meanwhile, is one which exceeds these figures. 

Liquidity Guarantee Fund aid will not be available to small enterprises or to micro-enterprises. 

What forms does Liquidity Guarantee Fund aid assume ?

The Liquidity Guarantee Fund will be used to guarantee repayment of credit facilities drawn by business enterprises from commercial banks and from cooperative banks which had signed a dedicated cooperation agreement with BGK.

The actual credit facilities guaranteed under the scheme will be made available in accordance with the terms offered by the lender in question.

The list of banks offering loans backed by the Liquidity Guarantee Fund is available on the BGK website at https://www.bgk.pl/przedsiebiorstwa/poreczenia-i-gwarancje/fundusz-gwarancji-plynnosciowych/. As at today, this list includes lenders such as PKO BP, Alior Bank, ING Bank Śląski, mBank, Santander, BNP Paribas, and BOŚ – in other words, the major commercial banks active in Poland. In the future, this list may grow as BGK establishes cooperation with more lenders. 

When can we apply for a BGK guarantee ? 

The scheme will be launched in April 2020 and run through 31 December 2020. 

What can a Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee cover ? 

Guarantees are available for loans from commercial banks and cooperative banks towards timely clearing of liabilities arising in connection with an enterprise’s business operations, especially revolving credit facilities and overdraft facilities. The present scheme will not offer guarantees for refinancing (in the sense of loans taken out to repay earlier loans) of for loans covered by a previous BGK assurance or guarantee.

The guarantee may cover new credit facilities as well as existing ones, provided that they have been renewed after 1 March 2020. The duration of a loan covered by a Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee should not exceed 24 months.

The maximum value of a loan covered by a Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee is PLN 250 mln.

Apart from that, in the case of loans falling due after 31 December 2020, the maximum amount of the guarantee may not exceed:

  1. Twice (2 x) the sum total of remunerations of the borrower’s employees (social insurance contributions included) plus costs of other personnel employed by subcontractors but working for the borrower’s benefit for 2019, or for the last year for which data is available. In the case of borrowers incorporated on or after 1 January 2019, the maximum amount of the credit facility may not exceed the estimated sum total of remunerations for the first two years of operations; or
  2. 25% of the borrower’s aggregate turnover (net revenue from sale of goods, services and financial operations) for 2019; or
  3. Where the borrower submits a declaration and duly justifies his liquidity needs, an amount higher than that described in items 1 and 2 above, provided that the increased loan amount ensures the covering of liquidity needs:
    • for not more than 18 months for a medium-sized enterprise,
    • for not more than 12 months for a large enterprise,

counted from the date on which the loan is approved.

In the case of credit facilities falling due by 31 December 2020, the amount of the loan may exceed the limit defined above provided that the borrower duly justifies such a need.

More detailed information about credit facilities underwritten by BGK will be available from the specific lenders. 

What is the maximum Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee ?

The value of the guarantee may be between PLN 3.5 and PLN 200 mln, and it may secure up to 80% of the aggregate credit facility amount (meaning that the maximum value of a credit facility underwritten by BGK is PLN 250 mln).

The guarantee extends to, at any given moment, the outstanding principal – without interest or other credit costs / fees.

What is the duration of a Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee ?

The maximum duration of a guarantee is 27 months, not to exceed the term of the loan plus 3 months.

How do I go about securing a Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee ?

A prospective borrower interested in a Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee should apply to BGK through his lending bank, provided that the latter has executed a dedicated cooperation agreement with BGK.

Of course, a business enterprise seeking a Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee must qualify for the credit facility in the first place, meeting the relevant criteria in accordance with the crediting lender’s procedures.

Should a credit facility covered by a Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee be secured ? 

Yes, a credit facility guaranteed from the Liquidity Guarantee Fund should be secured with an in blanco promissory note together with a promissory note declaration.

Does BGK charge a commission on Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantees ? 

Yes – BGK’s commission for extension of the guarantee is collected in advance, for the entire credit period:

  1. for a renewable credit line – on the credit line guarantee amount;
  2. for a non-renewable credit facility – on the credit guarantee amount.

For a newly extended guarantee, the applicable commission rates are as follows:

  1. For a medium-sized enterprise:
    • for a credit period of up to 1 year – 0.25%;
    • for a credit period over 1 year, up to 2 years – 0.55%;
  2. For a large enterprise:
    • for a credit period of up to 1 year – 0.50%;
    • for a credit period over 1 year, up to 2 years – 1.15%.

If the original amount is subsequently increased, or if the guarantee period is extended, BGK will charge an additional commission in accordance with the above rates, with due heed for the commission already collected.

When can BGK refuse a guarantee ? 

BGK will refuse Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantees for borrower enterprises:

  1. which, as at 1 February 2020:
    • had a file in any credit information system (e.g. BIK or the Bank System of Delinquent Borrowers) barring them from credit at their lender;
    • had had any credit exposure terminated by their lender (e.g. had a balance sheet liability associated with a terminated loan);
    • had payments in excess of PLN 3,000 overdue for more than 30 days at their lender;
    • had any tax or social insurance (ZUS, KRUS) liabilities;
  2. which, as at 31 December 2019, had any credit exposure classified by their lender as “at risk”, or which had become sub-par;
  3. whose aggregate value of credit facilities extended to the enterprise at all banks and benefitting from Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantees exceeds the maximum Liquidity Guarantee Fund guarantee value.

Liquidity guarantees will not be available to companies which are in a “difficult situation”, apparently to be construed in reference to European Union law, e.g. Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (a variety of insolvency and receivership scenarios).

Where do I look for detailed information concerning Liquidity Guarantee Fund conditions, rights, and duties ?

Specifics about the Liquidity Guarantee Fund are available on the BGK website at: https://www.bgk.pl/files/public/bart/Warunki_uzyskania_gwarancji_z_FGP_04_2020.pdf.

In each and every instance, these general conditions must be regarded in conjunction with any and all applicable regulations of the specific lender cooperating with BGK.

 

Contact

 

 

 

Małgorzata Badowska

partner, radca prawny

m.badowska@gessel.pl

Małgorzata Badowska

 

 

Michał Bochowicz

managing associate, adwokat

m.bochowicz@gessel.pl

 

 

Weronika Zdeb

senior associate, adwokat

w.zdeb@gessel.pl