Business & Policy
FCC launches new fund for agribusinesses in challenging times
By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Today, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of Farm Credit Canada (FCC), announced the launch of a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund (AFBSF) to support proven, viable companies through unexpected business disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launched in partnership with Forage Capital Inc., a Calgary-based venture capital firm, the AFBSF is set up to provide companies with the financial stability and flexibility they need to rebuild their business models during challenging times. FCC is the sole investor in the fund.
“This type of investment fund will offer companies another option when faced with business disruptions,” Bibeau said.
The fund is set up to support a wide range of enterprises in the agribusiness and agri-food sector, including companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging and distribution. The fund will help companies in times of need through innovative solutions such as convertible debt investments and other flexible financing solutions. Applications will be assessed individually on their merit, and will be supported to a maximum of $10 million.
The primary goal of the AFBSF is to return recipient companies to a sound financial footing. To qualify, companies need to demonstrate an impact from an unexpected business disruption, such as the loss of a key supplier, temporary loss of a facility or permanent loss of critical staff or leadership. Funds cannot be used to repay shareholder loans or purchase shareholder equity positions.
Today’s announcement complements the minister’s announcement on March 23 to enhance FCC’s lending capacity by an additional $5 billion to help producers and agri-food businesses with access to cash flow to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that announcement, more than 4,800 producers and agri-food businesses have used payment deferral options on FCC loans totalling $4 billion and have established credit lines totalling more than $500 million to alleviate short-term cash flow concerns.