A Minister from Kildare has urged local businesses and farmers to consider applying for a Brexit loan scheme worth €330 million that is now live.
Deputy Minister for State for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Martin Heydon was joined by by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue, and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue in launching the Brexit Impact Loan scheme (BILS).
BILS is a successor to the Brexit Loan Scheme and provides low-cost loans to eligible Brexit-impacted businesses including those in the primary agriculture sector.
Loans are available between €25,000 and €1.5 million and are for terms of up to six years.
Commenting on BILS, Minister Heydon said: "Irish businesses and farmers are uniquely exposed to Brexit; these loans will help businesses to mitigate the impact by providing working capital, allowing for investment, and refinancing existing loans."
Deputy Heydon continued: "This Government will not be found wanting when it comes to helping businesses who are still adapting to a post-Brexit trading environment... In particular, our agri-food sector is uniquely exposed.
"That is why I am pleased to see that, as well as food businesses, this scheme will now be available to farmers."
He added that the new scheme would have a simplified application process in response to feedback from the Brexit Loan Scheme, and said that BILS loans will also be available from select Credit Unions as well as retail banks.
"As Minister of State will responsibility for new market development, I am acutely aware of our dependence on the UK market.
Deputy Heydon elaborated: "While it is important that we diversify our exports, the UK will remain an important market for us.
"Next year will bring new challenges to many Irish businesses as the UK phases in border controls.
"When these controls are in place it will disproportionately affect primary agriculture, and food and drink businesses."
"This scheme can help those businesses prepare for these challenges," he concluded.
The following are features of loans in BILS: loans ranging from €25,000 to €1.5 million, loan terms from 1-6 years and loans of up to €500,000 available unsecured.
Loans can be used for: liquidity/working capital, investment, 100 per cent refinancing of existing Brexit Loan Scheme loans, and refinancing of existing short-term credit, up to a maximum of 30 per cent of the new loan.
BILS is available to eligible SME and small Mid-Cap businesses, including primary producers, established in Ireland.
It must be noted that business must also have experienced an adverse impact of a minimum of 15 per cent in actual or projected turnover or profit due to the impact of Brexit in order to apply for the scheme.
Loans provided under the scheme will be lower than is otherwise typically available on similar lending in the market and will vary according to the lender.
Lenders participating in the scheme will be separated into two cohorts: For the first, interest rates will be variable, but are capped at an initial maximum rate of 3.7 per cent for loans less than €250,000, and 2.75 per cent for loans of €250,000 and above.
Then, for loans from the remaining lenders, a minimum discount of 1 per cent relative to their standard rates will be require for loans under BILS.
The scheme is also eligible businesses with up to 499 employees.
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