I have produced an (Edited) translation from original French, of a very powerful article written by M.François Terrade, Head of Structuring (Europe) – Managing Director of Demica Europe, (formerly Managing Director – GE Capital, Cross Border Receivables Financing) about the future implications of the proposed merger of GE Factofrance by Crédit Mutuel-CIC, for businesses looking to raise working capital not only in France but across Europe.
From this background Francois is uniquely placed to comment on this merger as the former head of the Cross Border financing group and which I have some very deep and positive experiences.
I for one will be taking a much close look at Demica and other similar financing providers as the independent GE door closes.
See link for the original French LinkedIn article – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reprise-de-ge-factofrance-par-cr%C3%A9dit-mutuel-cic-en-france-terrade?trk=prof-post
RIP – GE FactoFrance
Head of Structuring (Europe) – Managing Director, Demica Europe; http://www.demica.com/
With the acquisition of GE Factofrance by Crédit Mutuel-CIC, one thing about the future of Factoring in France is certain – “The Fintechs are ready to take over”.
The announcement of the proposed merger on 3 December at La Défense marks a major turning point for the factoring market in France. In a few months the new organization will become the No. 1 in the French market with over 40% market share. Crédit Mutuel has no doubt demonstrated its desire to develop this growing market and well ahead of its other banking competitors, including BNP and Credit Agricole. But is this the point?
GE Factofrance, (who would celebrate its 50th anniversary next year), was the last major independent provider in the factoring sector, valued for its independence, its quality services, the dynamism of its teams, its original approach to client needs and in particular the emphasis of the quality of trade receivables and not just the customer’s credit quality itself.
Importantly, GE (with no bank network) had no requirement for customers to change operational bank accounts, with GE Factofrance relying instead on working with the company’s accounts in its banks, whilst remaining competitive in pricing. This approach has enabled it to maintain and develop strong positions notably in turnaround business / “special situations”, as part of pan European corporate strategy and to service companies owned by Private Equity funds.
This meant that there was no pressure on borrowers to change operations, move bank accounts or enter complex banking arrangements. This is what many SMEs require – the professional financing of their, without ulterior commercial thoughts or control, delivering simple working capital finance to power the company’s “engine”.
The structure of the French factoring market will be certain, but is it good for business? It is highly possible to doubt it. It will be interesting to know the views of SMEs and industry professionals (advice, brokers, actors restructuring, investment funds …). One thing is certain, for those who want to keep the old model, they can regain independence, simplicity and service quality from the new providers of receivables finance; the “Fintechs” who provide alternative receivables finance developing their offers of disintermediated finance programs, often based on the establishment of a securitization fund (FCT); a simple tool that the whole world is starting to consider.
Paradoxically, the banking factoring market reshaping will help to bring these new players the boost they needed for the benefit of SMEs.