Measures of the national development agency Investicijų ir Verslo Garantijos (INVEGA) have helped businesses prevent payment chain interruptions, pay rent and deal with other issues caused by restrictions on their operations. Businesses are delighted to have overcome major difficulties but remain concerned about the possible lack of working capital when operations are resumed.
“Upon imposition of quarantine, our operations have been to a certain extent restricted, but we were able to continue trade via our e-shop,” said Robertas Ragauskas, director of Audores Baltic that sells restaurant equipment. “We have worked consistently and responsibly for many years, and we have secured a stable market position. This helped us to avoid any major difficulties. However, since most of public catering companies, which are our main customers, could not work, there was the risk of interruptions in the invoice payment chain. To reduce the possible risks caused by the pandemic and following evaluation of the proposed financial measures, we applied to INVEGA to receive a loan for payable invoices.”
A loan for payable invoices (ASAP) enables an enterprise whose customers are unable to pay invoices to receive a loan for covering a shortage of funds and in this manner ensure the sustainability of their business. According to Mr. Ragauskas, after restrictions were imposed on some of the customers (public catering companies) of Audores Baltic, it had become difficult for some of them to pay invoices or fulfil other obligations. The loan has ensured that Audores Baltic could retain the existing agreements with customers and wait for mitigation of the restrictions.
The Bajorų Kiemas restaurant chain has experienced an immediate effect of the restrictions due to quarantine: the operations of all restaurants have been suspended. The company was provided with a loan to businesses most affected by COVID-19. This type of no deposit loan may be used for covering shortage of funds occurring due to forced suspension of operations as a result of quarantine. These loans are provided to very small, small and medium-sized enterprises for covering necessary costs.
Mantas Matyžius, director of the restaurant chain that is now resuming operations, says that the loan was very important for the company since it has to pay rent.
“Our lessors had not taken into account that we had been forced to suspend operations,” he said. “We had not been able to prove that we had been affected by force majeure, despite the supporting documents issued by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts. Therefore, we used the loan to pay some of rents. We have also made several current payments. In this manner, we have managed to retain the restaurant infrastructure and wait for the date when we can resume operations.”
According to Mr. Matyžius, resuming operations does not mean that the company’s turnover will immediately be back to normal. On the contrary, after the break in operations, a shortage of funds may be expected. This is why he proposes adjusting the conditions of loans provided by INVEGA.
“After the resumed operations become stable, we will experience a shortage of working capital as a result of consequences of the quarantine. Our need for working capital will be even more pressing, and in this situation similar loans would also be an important support for businesses. Yet for this purpose, one of the main conditions should be adjusted, i.e. permission to pay costs after 31 July as well should be granted,” said Mr. Matyžius.
With consideration of the currently enforced conditions of provision of loans to businesses most affected by COVID-19, Mr. Matyžius recommended that any businesses wishing to receive these loans carefully analyse the restrictions applicable to the loans and the possibilities of how these loans may be used. A loan may be very important for businesses experiencing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vytautas Leščiauskas, director of Donersa that manages the Speedway cart circuit, agrees that INVEGA’s loans are important for businesses affected by the pandemic. According to him, businesses for which the quarantine restrictions had coincided with the start of active operations have suffered the most.
“Our business is seasonal. This spring, when our resources were very limited, the quarantine was imposed and our operations were suspended,” said Mr Leščiauskas. “We did not have funds for paying salaries or settling accounts with suppliers. INVEGA’s measures enabled us to retain jobs and pay invoices. After we received the loan, we also made payments under invoices with longer payment deadlines to suppliers who had not received State-provided support despite inclusion on the list of affected businesses.”
Mr. Leščiauskas also advised other businesses to act jointly, actively submit applications and avail of recommendations from INVEGA and financial intermediaries. Following a thorough evaluation of his company’s situation and the received advice, the director of Donersa has successfully availed of both a loan for payable invoices (ASAP) and a loan to businesses most affected by COVID-19.
According to INVEGA’s data, 267 enterprises have already successfully availed of loans for payable invoices (ASAP), and loans to businesses most affected by COVID-19 have been provided to 522 applicants.