Bpifrance intensifies its financing efforts and equity investment for French Fab and French Tech micro-businesses, SMEs and Mid-Caps, and scales up its extra-financial services (consulting, training & networking events) for SMEs’ CEOs
√ RECORD YEAR FOR FINANCING (+11%), WITH €7.5 BILLION IN INVESTMENT LOANS (+8.1%) AND €8.7 BILLION IN SHORT-TERM FINANCING (+14%)
√ SLIGHT DECLINE IN INNOVATION FINANCING TO €1.2 BILLION (-10.2%). DEEP TECK PLAN SET TO LAUNCH IN 2019
√ RECORD YEAR FOR DIRECT INVESTMENT IN SMES AND MIDCAPS (€435 MILLION INVESTED; +13%)√ SECOND OUTSTANDING YEAR FOR FUND OF FUNDS (NEARLY €1 BILLION IN SUBSCRIPTIONS TO PARTNER FUNDS)
√ STRONG GROWTH FOR SME AND MID-CAP EXPORT PRODUCTS WITH THE NUMBER OF BENEFICIARIES UP BY 10%
√ 80,000 BUSINESSES FINANCED√ 500 BUSINESSES CURRENTLY PARTICIPATING IN SME AND MID-CAP ACCELERATOR-PROGRAMMES (+77%)
Nicolas Dufourcq, CEO of Bpifrance, commented as follows:“Bpifrance was a powerful catalyst for business growth in 2018 with a growing number of local interventions in financing, equity and support efforts. The rise in investment loans to micro-businesses and SMEs, the increase in the number of SMEs benefiting from public export assistance tools, and the strong growth in the number of SMEs that benefited from equity investments all confirmed the entrepreneurial drive that exists in France. To inspire and support this drive, the advisory and training programmes for SMEs and mid-caps, so-called Accelerators, have been scaled up through partnerships with the Regions and different federations, resulting in the inauguration of eight new SME Accelerator programmes across the country. In 2019, Bpifrance will focus even more closely on entrepreneurs and micro-businesses with its new Bpifrance Création* division. Our Deep Tech Plan will be rolled out in 2019 to bring 2,000 tech start-ups out of their scientific research labs in order to strengthen French industry’s innovation capacity and position it at the forefront of major technological developments. In 2019, Bpifrance’s investment business line will also gain the ability to co-invest with foreign sovereign funds thanks to the integration of CDC International Capital. Lastly, in 2019, the bank will focus its efforts specifically on “French Fab” businesses (industry), an initiative that kicked off with the launch of the French Fab Tour in Laval on 15 January”.
(*) Resulting from the takeover of the missions of Agence France Entrepreneur and the business creation support networks
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR:
• It was a record year in 2018 for financing investment and growth in SMEs and mid-caps:
o Medium- and long-term loans earmarked for investment rose by 8%, reflecting very brisk activity, in particular in the financing of industrial equipment and of France’s Energy and Environmental Transition (EET).
o Activity in credit to finance intangible needs remained high, with €2.5 billion in unsecured loans granted. These unsecured loans are very popular among micro-businesses, with the support of the French Regions, and among French Fab SMEs.
o The use of public funds to finance innovation was down slightly, while seed loans and innovation loans were sharply higher (+35% to €442 million).
• In the equity activity, in 2018 €2 billion was invested directly in businesses and to support the French investment fund ecosystem after an exceptional 2017 marked by the €1.9 billion investment in PSA:
o Growth in the direct innovation capital activity, a catalyst for the innovation ecosystem, jumped by 20% on the back of the increase in large-scale fund-raisings for French start-ups.
o Investments in SMEs soared (+59%) to around €200 million through 104 transactions. For more than one in two businesses, it was a first opening of its capital to an investment fund.
o Mid & Large Cap growth capital activity was robust with interests acquired in 39 mid-caps and a number of major disposals. This attests to the active management of the portfolio.
o Funds of Funds activity was once again very brisk in 2018, after a record 2017, with a total of €962 million invested in 50 partner funds. This activity therefore continued to have an impact on the rise of French investment funds, in terms of both the number of funds and the size of the funds raised.
• The Export activity reported 10% growth in 2018 in the number of SMEs and mid-caps supported, marking a shift towards more widespread availability of public export financing tools.
The new market survey cover plan was first marketed in April and the reformulation was a success, with a 34% increase in volume terms over the year. This highlights the strong take-up by Bpifrance’s 48 regional offices of the new Export range of products for SMEs and mid-caps.
• Extra-financial services (consulting, training & networking events) have become a full-fledged business line for Bpifrance. The rise in the number of businesses participating in accelerators programmes to help them meet the challenges of the industry of the future led to the creation of a dedicated business line.
The creation in 2017 of an SME Accelerator, for the GIFAS (the French aerospace industries association) paved the way for the Automotive, Chemicals, Agri-food and Plastics sectors which, as of 2018, had their own SME Accelerators through a partnership with Bpifrance. In 2018, the partnerships with the Regions to establish Accelerators continued with the launch of the Grand Est, Hauts de France, Centre-Val-de-Loire and Ile-de-France accelerators.
Bpifrance is the French national investment bank: it finances businesses – at every stage of their development – through loans, guarantees, equity investments and export insurances. Bpifrance also provides extrafinancial services (training, consultancy..). to help entrepreneurs meet their challenges (innovation, export…).