Foreign Companies welcome. US Tax dodgers that didn’t qualify in the US, no problem.
The Bank of England (BoE) published a list of the 53 companies to whom it has lent more than £16 billion, at absurdly low rates, as part of its Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). Launched on March 20, the scheme enables the BoE to buy short-term corporate debt (“corporate paper”) of up to one-year maturity from companies at interest rates of between 0.2% and 0.6%.
To qualify for these funds, you need to be a large company that is adjudged to have been in sound financial health before the coronavirus outbreak but is now facing acute short-term cash flow problems as a result of that outbreak. Your debt must also be rated investment grade at the time of the loan application.
You do not need to be a British firm to qualify for the loan program; you just need to be deemed to provide “a material contribution to the UK economy.” Around two out of five of the recipients are headquartered overseas and the program’s biggest beneficiary so far is German chemicals giant BASF, which was given a loan of £1 billion. Another German company, Bayer (infamous for having acquired Monsanto to then get swamped by Monsanto’s horrendous litigation), also received £600 million.
Many of the loan recipients are in the sectors hardest hit by the fallout of the coronavirus crisis:
So far, the biggest recipients of state aid in Europe are airlines such as Lufthansa and Air France-KLM. Some airlines are also getting help from central banks. In the case of the Bank of England’s CCFF program, four companies have received a total of £1.8 billion in short-term loans: British Airways (£300 million), Ryanair (£600 million), Easyjet (£600 million) and Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air (£300 million).
Ryanair is a particularly interesting case given that it has €4.1 billion in cash reserves. As such, it is not suffering short-term cash-flow difficulties. What’s more, its owner, Michael Leary, has made a huge song and dance about the injustice of his cash-flush airline having to compete with flagship carriers primed with bailout cash, which is a perfectly justifiable point if it wasn’t for the fact that at the same time Leary was badmouthing his rivals, his company was also receiving a virtually free loan of £600 million from the BoE.
Continue reading the article on Wolf Street