Financing SMEs in UAE

Financing SMEs in UAE

Buy & Use of Funds

How much to borrow? How to allocate the costly funds etc? Are questions that demand efficient solutions from businessmen? The business environment comprises companies that have just started up or are in various stages of their development. Each has its own reason for being in business and each has its own finance requirements.

A company requires financing to carry out its business plan. There are two main sources of business financing: through equity investors (owners or shareholders) and creditors (also called lenders). Financial markets are potential sources of business financing. While looking to financial markets, a company considers several issues including: the amount of financing necessary, source(s) of financing (owners or financial institutions), timing of repayment and structure of the financing agreement(s).

Borrowing from banks/financial institutions is different than equity financing in an agreement, or contract, is usually established requiring repayment of the loan with interest at a specific date(s). While interest is not always expressly stated in these contracts, it is always implicit.

Getting the right banking partner is the success of all business units which may support the growth cycle with solutions that meet all their financial needs in time. There are various types of bank facilities available in the market. Interest rate and the Facility amount depend on the length of the company’s business, the industry of the client, historical performance, future plans, management profiles and the market reputation. Banks are taking initiative to understand the company’s business strategy and needs in order to design a tailored solution to match with the client’s requirements by reducing the risk and the interest burden.

Loan periods are variable and depend on the desires of both lenders and management of the companies. It may vary from short term (say, couple of months to one or two years) to long term (say, 3/5/10 years etc).

Like owners, the financiers are concerned with return and risk. From shareholders point of view one has to bear in mind always that the cost of funds is always less than the return anticipated while going for borrowing. Otherwise owners will be spending from their own pocket instead of taking money to their pockets.

A company’s capacity to borrow depends on several factors and is subject to change. It depends on profitability, stability, size, industry position, asset composition and capital structure. It also depends on credit market conditions and trends. Owners through proper finance team/personnel have to manage the borrowed fund effectively to ensure efficient utilization of the same.

Managing Corporate Finance

The finance director of a business has the responsibility for managing the financial resources of the business to meet the objectives of the business.

The finance director’s responsibilities involve:

  1.  Raising and controlling the provision of funds for the business.
  2. Deciding on the deployment of these funds – the assets, new projects, and operational expenditure required to increase the wealth of the business.
  3. Controlling the resources of the business to ensure that they are being managed effectively.
  4. Managing financial risks such as exposures relating to movements in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates.

What level of investments/ assets/ financing should the company have ?

  1.  What level of assets should the company have?
  2.  How should investment projects be chosen and how should they be funded?
  3.  In what proportions should the company’s funding be regarding shareholders’ equity and borrowings?
  4.  What proportions of profit should be paid out in dividends or retained for future investment?

The management of the company has various choices, selecting the best choice is highly important to get funds at cheaper rate for certain purposes / assets. Sometimes we noted that some companies are using wrong mixtures, for instance, when asset finance are available from banks for interest (flat rate) at 5 % to 7% per annum normally, companies are taking business loan/term loans at very high interest for acquiring assets which costs 8% to 13% per annum.

Different types of Financing options available in UAE

Equity Financing

  1.  Institutional Equity Investment
  2.  Strategic Partnerships

Debt Financing

 Working Capital and Trade Finance

  1.  LC and TR Facilities
  2.  Term Loans
  3.  SME Finance and Business Loans
  4. Project Finance
  5. Over Draft – OD
  6. Check Discounting Facility
  7. Invoice Discounting Facility
  8. Factoring – Loans based on confirmed sales orders or accounts receivables.

Lease Finance

  1. Plant, Machinery  and  Equipment  Lease Finance
  2. Lease financing for Heavy Vehicle and Fleets

The modes and various parameters by which the banks in UAE generally lending short term loans or facilities are tabulated below for ease of reference.

Pradeep Sai

Director – Emirates Chartered Accountants Group

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