The investment programme “Assureurs – Caisse des Dépôts Relance Durable France”, the initial amount of which was EUR 1.5 billion, is finally going to reach EUR 2.2 billion, with nearly EUR 2 billion coming from insurers.
Four months after its official launch, the FFA and Caisse des Dépôts are in a position to report on the progress of the programme in each of its three parts:
Supporting SMEs and ETIs in industry and services
- The reopening of the NOV funds made it possible to allocate €309 million before July to the NOVA 2 and NOVI 2020 listed equity funds and the NOVO 2020 debt fund, managed respectively by Amiral Gestion, La Financière de l’Echiquier and Tikehau. They allow the financing of any kind (debt, equity) of growing SME-ETIs in the industrial and service sectors.
- In addition, investors wanted to set up a fund that provides equity and quasi-equity to French SMEs and ETIs from all sectors with a strong regional focus and impact. This Nov Impact Unlisted Equity Fund is going to invest €124 million. The fund manager is currently being selected.
- This support for companies of all sectors is being supplemented by the creation of nine funds proposed and sponsored by seven insurers for a total amount of circa €700 million. These sponsored funds are part of a common and consistent strategy: allocating medium and long-term financing to French companies, mainly VSEs, SMEs and ETIs, while supporting the French financing ecosystem. They cover debt, listed shares and unlisted shares. Sponsored funds must demonstrate the alignment of their strategy with the overall objectives of the programme and their compliance with the technical criteria defined in a charter.
Contributing to the recovery of the tourism sector
- The €38-million fund, called “Nov Tourisme Prêts non cotés”, managed by October, a crowdfunding platform, has been operational since the end of September. It finances SMEs in the tourism and leisure sectors in France by means of loans with deferred repayments ranging from €30,000 to €1.5 million: https://fr.october.eu/pret-tourisme/
- The €170-million “Nov Tourisme Actions non cotées Relance Durable France” fund, managed by Montefiore Investment, will strengthen the equity of French SMEs and ETIs in the tourism, catering and leisure sectors, which have been strongly impacted by the pandemic. In addition to providing essential financial support, it has the ambition to contribute to the emergence of a generation of innovative and resilient companies in this sector, with a knock-on effect on the entire sector. With a 10-year maturity, the fund will invest EUR 5 to 10 million per company in equity and quasi-equity and generally, as a minority shareholder.
Strengthening health sovereignty
The last part, totalling more than €800 million, aims to strengthen health sovereignty by investing in research, infrastructure, logistics and healthcare services.
The governance of this part is structured around an Investors Committee and a Scientific Advisory Board composed of 12 leading experts chaired by former Health Minister Elisabeth Hubert. Officially formed on 24 September, the role of this Board, during the competitive process, is to provide advice to investors in order to inform their decisions, particularly on the strategic healthcare proposals of the shortlisted candidates for the three funds.
The closing of the three Healthcare funds (unlisted shares, listed shares, debt) is expected to take place in December.
Measuring the impact of these investments
Investors wanted to promote a sustainable economic recovery by also innovating in terms of taking extra-financial criteria into account. Thus, any unlisted investments carried out is conditional on the integration of sustainable development considerations into the company and on setting objectives in this area. In addition, extra– financial criteria must be systematically taken into account in the selection process of a company and certain undertakings that use or produce thermal coal are excluded.
Some of the programme’s equity funds could benefit from the ‘recovery’ label presented today by Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, and Alain Griset, French Deputy Minister in charge of Small and Medium-Sized Entreprises.
The financial and extra-financial impact of the programme will be assessed throughout its implementation in order to report, among other things, on job creations, the proportion of women in management positions, the carbon footprint, and relocated production.
“At the beginning of July, the FFA announced the programme, its composition and its agenda. Four months later some funds are already ramping up and we have rolled out more than half of the planned investment programme, while at the same time strengthening it to finally reach EUR 2.2 billion. We had expressed our desire to participate in the recovery alongside the public authorities, and this is the task we are tackling, by playing our full role in the sustainable financing of the economy”, said Florence Lustman, President of the Fédération Française de l’Assurance.