03 May 2020 Business

Financial support through pandemic opens up

Support through CBILS is becoming easier to access, and print industry funders are positioned to help.

Financial help for printers is coming through as the government’s CBILS emergency funding is settling down. And like the furlough scheme, it has been amended in a way which ought to help more in print.

This now includes loans of up to £250,000 with no interest to pay in the first year of a payback period that can be up to five years. The aim is to pay these within 24 hours using a faster and simpler process to those that are eligible.

These are UK based businesses that have been hit by the lockdown; turnover no more than £45 million; three year trading history and 50% of turnover from that trading; the loan is for business purposes and primarily for trading in the UK.

Compass Business Finance is already qualified to handle applications for CBILS funding and is inviting applications from those interested in the original and the extension to the CBILS arrangements. Close Bothers Asset Finance is not far behind, and should be qualified to handle CBILS applications in the next few days.

Compass Business Finance director Jamie Nelson says: “New opportunities for business support are becoming available all the time, being able to offer loans that include the first 12 months capital and interest free is a major step forward. The changes in the application process are also a significant improvement, as this has been the cause of much pain to businesses to this point.”

Government loans are not the only route to financial assistance. More conventional funding is possible. Close Brothers Asset Finance has been able to help Transcend Packaging transition from producing paper straws for McDonalds and other hospitality sectors which have collapsed with the lockdown, into becoming the largest producer of face shields in Wales. This earned the televised thanks of the Welsh government which is buying face shields from the Ystrad Minnach company.

Transcend is gearing towards the capacity to produce 2 million shields a week over time. It is currently on course to deliver 1 million of the lightweight disposable products in a number of designs each week. The scale makes them among the least expensive to be produced in the UK.

In order to do this, the company needed help. Close Brothers Asset Finance print division sales director Paul Philbrick says: “Our support for our customers remains undimmed. When Transcend reached out to us to see if we could restructure their agreements to free up headroom and allow them to manage cashflow during the current pandemic, we didn’t hesitate.”

Transcend managing director Lorenzo Angelucci has thanked Close for the action in helping to free up cashflow. When it was clear that sourcing PPE was a major problem, “as a packaging manufacturer we challenged ourselves to see what we could do to help in this fight”. That became a simple face shield that has received regulatory approval and will be used across healthcare sector and into retail and fast food where staff come into contact with members of the public.

"Our face shields are easy to use, inexpensive and designed for single use, eliminating the cumbersome process of cleaning the shields safely. Our goal is to get as many shields in the hands of key workers as possible and we should be able to produce between 1 and 2 million face shields per week as long as the need persists” he says.

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Lorenzo Angelucci

Lorenzo Angelucci

Transcend Packaging has been helped in the transition to produce millions of items of personal protective equipment by Close Brothers Asset Finance, one of a number of businesses that have been able to restructure outgoings through the assistance of the UK's specialist finance providers to print.

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