SNCI (Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement) celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. The national bank is one of the pillars of the economic development of Luxembourg and a key partner for any local company that looks to expand and grow. We spoke with Emmanuel Baumann, who chairs the SNCI management committee.
SNCI is one of the historical shareholders of some of Luxembourg’s largest companies: SES, ArcelorMittal, Cargolux, Paul Wurth, Encevo … It has also taken participations that have led to the development of other success-stories such as Digicash, Sisto Armaturen or Eurobéton and actively supports Technoport and Tomorrow Street incubators.
Mr Baumann, how has the mission of SNCI evolved over its 40 years of existence?
“Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement is the national promotional bank of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. It has as such, since its creation, a mission of general interest, namely to promote the economic development of Luxembourg, mainly by supporting the creation, extension, conversion, reorientation and rationalisation of companies. Over the years it has constantly created new financial instruments and adapted its existing ones.
Since the start of its operations as a public-law banking institution specialised in medium and long-term financing of Luxembourg-based companies, SNCI has taken loan decisions for a total value of 3.6 billion euros, i.e. an annual average of more than 95 million euros. SNCI has therefore made a significant contribution towards improving the financial leeway of thousands of Luxembourg companies during its 40 years of activity.
What are the main support instruments that you can implement for foreign players wishing to invest in Luxembourg?
“The most widely used instruments are the following loans:
- Equipment loans granted for SMEs in order to co-finance professional equipment;
- Start-up loans to co-finance expenses incurred during the realisation of the business plans of newly created SMEs;
- Loans for young innovative SME’s to co-finance their development projects;
- Medium and long term loans to co-finance professional equipment needed for production or service provision activities;
- Indirect development loan to co-finance investments in depreciable assets and negative operational cash-flows made within a specific project.
Which sectors of activity do you primarily encourage?
“Traditionally, we co-finance projects of SMEs of the trade, hotel and restauration, and craft sectors. We also co-finance projects of industrial as well as services sector companies. Over the last few years, projects of ICT companies, fintech included, have become increasingly frequent.
Are funds such as the Luxembourg Future Fund, the Digital Tech Fund or the Advent Life Science Fund well known to potential foreign investors? What is the nature and quality of the dossiers these funds are reviewing?
“These three funds are very well known because each of them is very well connected to the economy via its respective network. Each fund has its own objective and mission. This means also that they have different target groups.
The Luxembourg Future Fund is investing in companies active in the ICT, cleantech and other technology sectors excluding health technologies and life science, whereas the Advent Life Sciences Fund is specifically investing in companies active in the healthcare and biotech sector.
The objective of the Digital Tech Fund is to support the funding and development of start-ups in the field of information and communication technologies.
Are other funds planned to be launched in the short or medium term? Or will promotional efforts focus on the existing ones?
“It is a bit too early to talk about new funds, but indeed, some other funds are in the process of preparation. Information about these new funds will be certainly communicated in due time. Wait and see…”
Photo: SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen