In light of the government guidelines, all our offices are now closed and our teams are all working remotely, but are on hand to help you through these challenging times.

For assistance please get in touch with your main contact directly or email our covid19help@armstrongwatson.co.uk. Alternatively if you wish to talk to us, please call 0808 144 5575.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILS)

The CBILS was announced by the Chancellor in the budget and the scope was extended in subsequent announcements as part of a series of measures to support businesses affected by the ongoing impact of Covid-19. It can provide facilities (loans, overdrafts, invoice and asset finance) of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues and disruption to their cash flow. The scheme launched on 23 March and is expected to operate for six months.

The scheme gives the lender (not the borrower) a government backed partial guarantee potentially enabling a business to access facilities which would otherwise not be available.

Unlike Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme loans, there is no guarantee fee payable by the SME. The government will also cover any interest and lender levied fees in the first 12 months.

There are therefore no upfront costs to SMEs and reduced initial repayments (this may not apply in full for certain fishery, aquaculture and agriculture businesses).

Who is eligible for CBILS?

SMEs from all sectors (excluding certain financial services and public sector organisations) can apply for the full amount of the facility up to a maximum of £5m.

The business must be:

  • UK based with UK activity and annual turnover of no more than £45m
  • Have a borrowing proposal which would considered viable by the lender, were it not for the current pandemic
  • Demonstrate to the lender that the provision of finance will allow the business to trade out of any short to medium term financial difficulty.

What does viable mean?

The decision of what viable means is a credit decision for the individual lenders. In practice this is likely to be a combination of the performance of the business prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, the demonstrable impact the virus has had on the trading of the business (ie partial or total loss of revenue, supply chain interruption etc), the actions the business has taken to manage this impact and how the business will trade out of the current position with the support of the finance being requested.

What information will I need to provide?

The information required will vary by lender and product but as a minimum will include the following:

  • Detailed management accounts for a reasonable period to support the historic trading of the business (this could be up to the last three years)
  • Management information for February (and March month to date) even if these are not ordinarily prepared (ie if you do quarterly management accounts or no management accounts) to show how the pandemic has impacted on the business. This can be taken direct from your accounting system if needed.
  • A summary of what has caused the impact – ie leisure business forced to close due to social distancing measures has dramatically reduced revenue, measures taken in other countries have disrupted supply chain etc
  • A summary of actions the business has taken to manage the impact of the virus such as closing sites, employees furloughed, negotiations of payment terms with suppliers, negotiation of holidays with existing finance providers etc and the financial impact these will have on ongoing trading performance of the business
  • Details of how the business will trade out of the current situation ie a set of financial projections showing P&L, balance sheet and cash flow, and the assumptions supporting these projections.
  • Additional information which may be relevant for Asset Finance or Invoice Finance applications includes aged debtor reports, customer contracts etc Businesses should look at a variety of scenarios when considering how they will trade out of the current situation, looking at the impact of the pandemic lasting for the short (3 months), medium (6 months) and long term (12 months). Armstrong Watson are working with a number of businesses to support short term cash planning and longer term forecasting to support both general business planning and CBILS applications. To comply with social distancing guidance lenders will be trying to conduct business remotely and therefore you will need to be able to provide any information the lender requires digitally where possible.

How do I apply for CBILS?

The list of participating lenders is available here and being updated as new lenders are accredited under the scheme: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business... If your existing bank or lender is on the list of accredited partners then they should be your first port of call. Understandably institutions are prioritising their existing customers when the volume of enquiries is expected to be incredibly high. Advice is to where possible make applications online as phone lines are likely to be extremely busy.

If you have a relationship manager or director they may have already been in touch. If you would like more information on the scheme, or to discuss your current funding arrangements please contact your AW contact, or a member of our Corporate Finance team.

Our specialist Commercial Funding Team, led by Steve Dinsmore, would be happy to assist you with any application you might wish to make under scheme or discuss alternative options in the event of a decline decision from your existing lender.

Get in touch

If you would like more information on the scheme, or you wish to discuss your current funding arrangements please get in touch with a member of our Corporate Finance team.

Our specialist Commercial Funding Team, led by Steve Dinsmore, would be happy to assist you with any application you might wish to make under scheme. Please call 0808 144 5575 or email COVID19help@armstrongwatson.co.uk.