In an effort to help businesses due to unfortunate developments with COVID-19 and declaration of epidemic in Slovenia, the Slovenian government has adopted an Act on emergency measures of payment deferral of the borrowers, which shall be valid for 18 months. The aim of this act is to enable the moratorium on loan payments to prevent serious economic damage and to maintain financial stability in Slovenia due to COVID-10 epidemic.
Moratorium on loan payments
With this act local banks or subsidiaries of EU banks that have their seat in Slovenia shall grant moratorium on loan repayments for a period of 12 months provided that obligations under the loan agreement have not yet become due and payable until the declaration of COVID-19 epidemic. Moratorium will be granted upon request to the following persons:
- companies having their seat in Slovenia and incorporated under Slovenian law,
- natural persons, who employ employees pursuant to the Slovenian Employment Relationships Act and have their residence in Slovenia,
- self-employed persons who reside in Slovenia,
- holders of agriculture,
- natural persons who are Slovenian citizens and have permanent residence in Slovenia,
- cooperatives, associations, institutions.
The content of the request depends on the type of the borrower, size of the company and the specific situation of the business activity. Above mentioned borrowers (except natural persons) shall substantiate and prove that they have paid all social contributions, taxes, other public charges and that they will be unable to repay their loan obligations due to the COVID-19 consequences. Large companies will have to additionally substantiate that the payment of loan liabilities could lead to insolvency. Borrowers will have to submit, among others, a statement that as of December 31, 2019, they have settled all mandatory contributions, taxes, charges.
Borrowers can address a request for moratorium to the bank no later than within six months after the COVID-19 epidemic is cancelled. Act applies to already existing loan agreements as well as for the loan agreements that will be signed during the validity of this act on emergency measures.
Moratorium shall include:
- moratorium on all payment obligations under the loan agreement until the end of moratorium period,
- the final maturity date shall be extended for the duration of moratorium,
- after the expiry of moratorium, the next first instalment shall become due and payable in accordance with terms and conditions of the loan agreement,
- moratorium shall not affect the calculation of each instalment amount,
unless the bank and the borrower agree otherwise.
The bank and the borrower shall sign the amendment agreement to the legacy loan agreements, whereby the bank shall not request any other additional action from the borrower or the guarantor for the validity and effectiveness of the moratorium.
The borrowers are also obliged to report monthly to the bank on their implementation plan to restore liquidity and other changes to their business position. The bank may suspend or shorten the moratorium period if:
- the borrower fails to report regularly to the bank,
- the suspension or shortening of moratorium is justified based on the borrower’s reporting and other information the bank has at its disposal,
- the borrower provides the bank with false information.
A bank that would unjustifiably reject a moratorium request may be fined in the amount of EUR 80,000 up to EUR 250,000, while the member of the board may be fined in the amount of EUR 2,500 up to EUR 10,000 and responsible person of the bank, not a board member, shall be fined in the amount of EUR 800 up to 10,000.
The measures provided for in this act shall be valid for 18 months from the expiry of COVID-18 epidemic.
Other financial measures
To further combat the negative economic effects of the epidemic and help businesses in need, several credit lined will be available by Slovenian investment and development bank (“SID”), Slovenian Enterprise Fund (“SEF”) and Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (“MEDT”).
SID is making available certain financial products up to EUR 800 million, of which EUR 200 million will be dedicated to resolving liquidity problems, whereas EUR 600 million will be provided in the form of indirect financing of companies through the banks (NLB, NKBM, Abanka, Addiko bank, Gorenjska banka and Sberbank). Financial products will be available in April 2020. The funds are aimed to assist SME, self-employed persons and even large companies, however, the subjects will be eligible only if they are conducting business for at least two years and have two employees. SID is also preparing financing program which will enable small, medium and large companies short term loans.
Micro, small and medium enterprises can also obtain liquidity loans from SEF, which will be providing in total EUR 115 million for the repayment of existing loans and obligations, of which up to EUR 25 million will be available as direct liquidity loans (i.e. as of 27 March 2020 companies can obtain from EUR 40,000 up to EUR 125,000 loan), EUR 79,2 million will be available as guarantees for bank loans (available as of 20 March 2020), whereas EUR 12,9 million is already available in the form of micro-loans.
Businesses in need can also turn to the MEDT as it can distribute EUR 6 million worth loans. If the requests will surpass expectations, additional funds in the form of guarantees in an aggregate amount up to EUR 20 million will be provided.
The Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia is also encouraging companies to take advantage of currently existing legal options that allow companies to apply for a 24-month postponement of payment of taxes in case of economic crisis or to apply for a programme, under which, taxes can be paid in up to 24 monthly instalments.
All in all, almost EUR 1 billion will be available to businesses in order to prevent financial instability and to ensure that normal business activity resumes after the epidemic is over.
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