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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - Bpifrance case study: Loire Etude (France), Manufacturing (stamping press machinery)

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Founded in 1966 and acquired in 1996 by the company’s current CEO Michel Garson, Loire Etude is specialised in the design and manufacture of large stamping press tools used to produce metal parts for different industry sectors, and in particular the automobile industry.

With the onset of the economic and financial crisis of 2008, Loire Etude’s high dependence on car producers, who took a strong hit, put the company in a very difficult position. After having carried out an analysis of the European market, Michel decided to reposition Loire Etude in niches of the market by diversifying the company’s commercial activities. To finance this initiative, Michel was actively looking for solutions: “These were difficult times. I wanted to restructure my company to adapt it to the market, so I was looking for different solutions. Unfortunately, I found myself quite often facing closed doors. I had almost lost all hope of saving my company when Bpifrance took a look at my application and said ‘yes’.” In the end, Michel secured an EU-guaranteed loan provided by Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, and backed by EIF under the Investment Plan for Europe.

This EU initiative, which aims to generate new investments by facilitating access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, gave Michel the opportunity to develop his strategy of diversification and repositioning of the company’s activities, by expanding into the aviation market and the rail market. In parallel, thanks to the company’s strong outreach to the aviation sector, Michel also expanded his company’s hot forming technologies, which he had started to develop in 2011 and required significant investments. Michel explains: “By being the first to support me in my development plan, Bpifrance led by example so to say. Their loan stimulated other funds, like the Regional Investment Fund of my region, to invest in my company.”

Michel explains that the reasons for having chosen this EU-guaranteed loan are that it allowed him to adapt the amount of the loan to his company’s needs as they presented themselves, but also, as the conditions were flexible, to have the possibility to space out the repayments, thus improving his company’s liquidity.

Today, Michel and his 70 employees are looking to the future with more confidence: “In recent years, we have been able to overcome the consequences of the crisis and to make 90% of our turnover from new clients, mostly coming from Germany.” As Loire Etude has also established offices in Brasov, Romania to spur the development of the company’s activities in Central European countries, Michel is now planning to concentrate its low-cost activity in Romania, and to develop new technology in his offices in France.

Company: Loire Etude (France)

Type of business: Manufacturing (stamping press machinery)

EIF financing: InnovFin SMEG, EFSI

For further information about EIF intermediaries in France, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/fr

 

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