NRW.BANK launches comprehensive COVID-19 package for economic recovery

07 September 2020

To support the recovery of the North Rhine-Westphalian economy, NRW.BANK has launched further promotional measures supplementing the COVID-19 aid provided by the State of NRW and the federal government. The aim of the promotional bank is to assist company founders and entrepreneurs by offering them a largely expanded range of equity and debt capital solutions to help them invest in growth again. The launch of a digitalisation drive is part of the package. The Bank additionally offers a programme for non-profit organisations. All measures will start with immediate effect.

“We want the companies in North Rhine-Westphalia to emerge from the crisis stronger. To achieve this, we are making available comprehensive liquidity together with the federal government and are providing strong impetus to strengthen economic activity and growth. At the same time, we are working on improving the general economic conditions as well as companies’ ability to innovate. Innovation and digitalisation will help to overcome the crisis in the long term,” says Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Economics and Digitalisation Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia. “NRW.BANK’s extended programmes complement the '10 Impulses of the NRW Government to Strengthen Economic Activity and Growth' launched in late May.”

While the first months of the coronavirus pandemic were primarily about support in the form of quick liquidity, the aim of the current measures is to give start-ups and SMEs new scope for investment in the critical recovery phase.

“The coronavirus crisis has clearly shown that companies that failed to invest in their own digitalisation at an early stage are falling behind because of the increasing use of digital tools and media,” says Eckhard Forst, Chairman of the Managing Board of NRW.BANK.

According to Forst, the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis has led to an additional investment backlog. “The programme improvements now implemented are designed to accelerate the digital transformation needed by the North Rhine-Westphalian economy,” Forst added. The measures also take account of the fact that company ratings have clearly deteriorated due to the effects of the pandemic.

The measures in detail: digitalisation drive launched

As the first building block of the planned digitalisation drive, NRW.BANK has expanded the group of eligible applicants for its “NRW.BANK.Digitalisierung und Innovation” programme. “By doing this, we want to give as many North Rhine-Westphalian companies as possible the opportunity to make the necessary investments in the future now – despite the exceptional situation caused by the pandemic,” says Gabriela Pantring, member of the Managing Board of NRW.BANK. With immediate effect, the promotional programme with interest rates starting at 0 percent is available to company founders and young companies regardless of the time of their foundation, as well as to larger SMEs with annual revenues in excess of EUR 500 million. NRW.BANK offers the house banks an 80 percent liability release especially for digitalisation projects.

The programme extensions are limited until 31 December 2020.

EUR 125 million in additional equity for North Rhine-Westphalia

NRW.BANK is adding EUR 125 million to its existing range of equity-strengthening solutions for established SMEs. “Having launched various equity programmes for start-ups or adjusted them to the COVID-19 situation at a very early stage, we are now implementing the new measures in response to the fact that credit ratings of SMEs have deteriorated as a result of the pandemic,” explains Michael Stölting, member of the Managing Board of NRW.BANK. The new growth and stabilisation facility comprises the new “NRW.BANK.Mittelstandsfonds Drei” with a volume of EUR 100 million and the new “NRW.BANK.Spezialfonds Zwei” with a volume of EUR 25 million.

Under the EU state aid framework, it will additionally be able to invest up to EUR 800,000 in companies without a co-investor via the “NRW.BANK.Spezialfonds” for a limited period until 31 December 2020. The “Spezialfonds” is primarily aimed at companies in special situations such as reorganisation and restructuring.

Expansion of commercial syndicated business

NRW.BANK is also adjusting its commercial syndicated lending business to the poorer corporate credit ratings caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As a reliable partner of the local house banks, it offers North Rhine-Westphalian SMEs affected by the crisis syndicated loans to finance urgently needed investments in the future.

In this case, NRW.BANK co-finances with other banks at the invitation of a lead-managing house bank and makes available up to 50 percent of the total loan amount.

New programme for non-profit organisations

NRW.BANK has additionally launched the first special promotional programme for non-profit organisations. The “NRW.BANK.Gemeinnützige Organisationen” programme offers low-interest promotional loans with a maximum interest rate of 1.5 percent p.a. and is targeted at foundations, associations and societies as well as other non-profit organisations regardless of their legal form, size or sponsors. Besides in-patient geriatric care facilities, the promotional programme is available, for instance, to organisations in the health sector or women’s shelters. The house banks benefit from a 100 percent liability release. 80 percent of this is covered by a federal guarantee from KfW, while the remaining 20 percent is covered by NRW.BANK. The maximum loan amount is EUR 800,000, with terms of up to ten years. The programme is initially limited until 31 December 2020.

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NRW.BANK is the promotional bank of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). Its mission is to support its owner – the state of North Rhine-Westphalia – in the completion of its structural and economic policy tasks. In its three promotional fields “Economy”, “Housing” and “Infrastructure/Municipalities”, NRW.BANK uses a wide range of promotion tools – from low-interest promotion loans to equity financing to advisory services. It cooperates with all banks and savings banks based in NRW on a competition-neutral basis. NRW.BANK takes into account the existing offers by the Federal Government, the North Rhine-Westphalian government and the European Union in the arrangement of its promotion.

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