how SMEs will reimburse

Among the business assistance measures, the State Guaranteed Loan (PGE) is unanimous. If there were some hiccups (see page 42), the subscriptions were massive: As of May 7, 66 billion euros in EMPs had been granted (out of a total of 93 billion requests in progress), at 81% for the benefit of TPE and PME. Even if the total will finally peak, not in the ceiling of 300 billion provided by the government, but rather in a range of 150 to 200 billion, the success is there. With its immediate corollary: how to repay it? Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, the head of Medef, took his calculator: “PGEs are generally subscribed for an amount equivalent to 25% of turnover, to be reimbursed over four years. This makes a reimbursement of about 6% per year, while the average profitability of SMEs does not exceed 3%. The equation is impossible. “

Everyone agrees on this observation. So what to do? The Governor of the Banque de France, François Villeroy de Galhau, pleaded on France Inter for “innovative, inventive forms of equity support” from the state. And there, the solutions diverge. Patrick Artus prompted Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux to use subordinated bonds: “A state guaranteed fund would recover the debts and transform them into securities spread over a long period [jusqu’à dix ans, voire vingt ans selon le Medef] which have the advantage of being quasi-equity. This proposal from Natixis’s chief economist caught the attention of Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire.

2,750 SMEs to save

Because the diagram is simpler than that defended by Antoine Frérot, the CEO of Veolia and president of the Institute of the Company, attentive in this respect to the risk of bankruptcies, in particular VSEs: “For all these entrepreneurs, it is the dream of a life that then collapses. If the state managed to save them by handing over their balance sheets to the state where it was at the end of 2019, how much does it cost[…]

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