“There is no general problem of non-repayment of loans guaranteed by the State”, assures Frédéric Visnovsky, credit mediator at the Banque de France. Two years after the granting of the first loans guaranteed by the State (PGE), intended to help companies faced with a drastic or even total drop in their activity due to the successive confinements linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, the figures communicated by the Banque de France seem reassuring.
Between 2020 and 2021, the State granted some 145 billion euros in guaranteed loans to 700,000 companies; approximately 90% of this total outstanding amount, i.e. 131 billion euros, must begin to be repaid in the spring of 2022, taking into account the deferrals granted by the State. “About 16% of this outstanding amount has already been repaid in 2021. And for 32% of outstanding amounts, repayment has started”, says Mr. Visnovsky. For the rest of the sums lent, i.e. 52% of the outstanding amount, repayment will therefore begin from April or May 2022. The risk of borrower default is considered low. Given the macroeconomic scenarios, the “potential final loss for the State would be 3.1% of outstandings, or 4.6 billion euros”says Mr. Visnovsky.
Rather, large companies preceded the call and have already met their deadlines, in whole or in part. They benefited from the momentum of the recovery in 2021 and were able to repay all the more easily as the PGEs were often not even used. According to Banque de France indicators, 40% to 45% of outstanding PGEs were still in subscribers’ bank accounts at the end of 2021, and can therefore be repaid without any difficulty.
Financial improvement in 2021
“The situation of companies is much less deteriorated than we might have feared, it is even rather satisfactory”explains the credit mediator. “Despite the prospect of stopping emergency aid to businesses and the sharp rise in the prices of many raw materials, SMEs and VSEs do not seem on the whole to be worried about the future evolution of their cash flow”, confirms the September 2021 edition of the Bpifrance Le Lab-Rexecode barometer. At that date, only 5% of business leaders, according to this survey, feared not being able to repay their loan. In February 2021, this proportion was 8%, indicating an improvement in the financial situation of companies in the spring and summer of 2021.
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