Two new credit facilities have been put in place during 2018: ICF Ecoverda, for circular economy, green and energy efficiency projects; and ICF Habitatge Social, for the construction and development of social housing for rental. The ICF has also allocated 15.3 million euros to venture capital funds investing in newly created companies or SMEs undergoing growth in Catalonia.
For 2018, the ICF Group has continued to foster the financing of the business fabric in order to contribute to the growth, innovation and sustainability of the Catalan economy. Specifically, in 2018 the institution financed a total of 1,512 companies for an amount of 599.2 million euros. A total of 455.5 million euros of this were formalised through the ICF and 143.7 million euros through Avalis de Catalunya.
According to the data presented today by the institution's CEO, Josep-Ramon Sanromà, "96% of the companies financed are entrepreneurs and SMEs." On the whole, the volume of funding granted by the ICF Group in 2018 has enabled almost 56,000 jobs to be created or maintained.
The CEO expressed his satisfaction, because in this period "the ICF's credit solutions have reached 27% more companies than last year." For Sanromà, "the ICF's mission as a public financial institution is to provide financial solutions to drive growth, innovation, the social economy and the sustainable development of the economy, supplementing the activity of private financial institutions."
In line with the strategic objectives of the Catalan economy, the ICF Group has focused its activity on three main areas: financing the growth of SMEs and business innovation to drive technological and digital transformation; providing financial support to start-ups, both in the initial and development stages, through investment funds; and creating credit facilities for the social domain and to drive the sustainability of the economy.
To promote the growth, innovation and internationalisation of SMEs, the ICF Eurocrèdit facility is most noteworthy, co-funded with ERDF funds. During 2018, this facility has enabled 121 business projects to be funded, amounting to more than 51 million euros. The efforts to drive the industry 4.0 are also noteworthy, with 31 projects and amounting to 86.3 million euros.
In the social and environmental field, new loans have been implemented to finance social housing projects for rental, the green economy and social economy. Along these lines, in September 2018, credit facilities were enabled to finance the construction and purchase of social housing for rental and, during the last months of 2018, the first loans were granted, providing credit to 9 social companies and/or developers amounting to almost 18 million euros.
As regards regional distribution, and in line with the economic weight of the Catalan GDP, Barcelona and its area of influence host 67% of the formalised operations, followed by Girona (8%), Central Catalonia (6%), Tarragona-Terres de l'Ebre (6%), and Lleida-Pirineu (5%).
In terms of sector distribution, industry, trade and tourism have been the main recipients of ICF Group credit, in accordance with the sector composition of the Catalan production framework and in line with the balance sheet presented the previous year. Thus, the manufacturing industry received 29% of loans and guarantees, amounting to 172.1 million euros, while 133.9 million of credit went to commerce, tourism and transport, representing 22% of the total.
Investment in venture capital
In the field of venture capital, "the ICF seeks to foster the growth and consolidation of existing companies, as well as supporting start-ups, in order to fund innovation and internationalisation projects," explained Sanromà.
In 2018, the ICF has committed €15.3 million in venture capital funds investing in newly created Catalan companies and/or growing SMEs, chiefly in the digital and life science sectors. The ICF currently participates in 33 venture capital instruments, accumulating 167 million euros of investment commitments. This amount, together with 1,693 million euros committed by other investors, reaches a figure of almost 1,860 million euros of investment capacity.
The ICF manages two venture capital funds through ICF Capital. On one side, Capital Expansión, designed to support the sector consolidation and growth projects of medium-sized enterprises and, on the other, Capital MAB in companies listed on alternative markets (MAB and others). Through these two funds, the ICF has invested a total of 9 million euros in 11 Catalan companies during 2018, a significant increase on last year's investment (3.6 million euros in 4 companies).
During 2018, the ICF has co-invested in 19 start-ups with other private investors through the IFEM Innovació facility, amounting to 3.2 million euros, through participatory loans. The number of companies financed has increased compared to 2017 (+19%) as well as the total amount (+28%).
Financial indicators: Balance sheet and results
The ICF closed 2018 with net income of 13.1 million euros, which will be wholly allocated to reserves. It, thus, consolidates an 8-year cycle of positive results, which have enabled it to allocate 69.5 million euros to reserves and improve the institution's solvency.
In terms of the other financial indicators, the ICF has a solvency ratio of 39.8%, an NPL ratio of 7.8% and an NPL coverage ratio of 136.1%.
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