The federal ag minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has announced a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund 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 Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund 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.
The fund will 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 Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund 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.
The May 14 announcement complements the Minister’s announcement on March 23, 2020 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 totaling $4 billion and have established credit lines totaling more than $500 million to alleviate short-term cash flow concerns.
Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada May 14, 2020 news release