Time For Some Fancy Footwork Around Your Business Financing & Line Of Credit Needs?
An asset based line of credit is an emerging financial alternative in Canada for companies of all sizes that wish to maximize working capital in terms of their growth needs. This type of lending revolves around loans to your business where the collateral of your assets and your ability to generate sales provides all the liquidity you need to operate and grow.
More often than not asset based lending is associated with companies who are unable to arrange or qualify for what most business owner’s term as a bank operating line of credit.
Asset based lending is known as ' ABL financing ' and has risen to great popularity, first in the U.S. where it originated, and now to the Canadian marketplace. Although occasionally Canadian banks choose to participate in Asset Based Lending through separate units within the banks the vast majority of providers of asset finance are commercial finance companies that are independent of the banks.
Why Do Companies Consider ABL Finance And The Asset Based Loan
Asset based credit lines and loans are used for a variety of purposes - we can make the case they are an ' all-season ' Canadian business financing solution. They are used for:
Non-bank asset based revolving credit facilities
Companies that are growing quickly and can't access all the capital they need
Structuring a merger or acquisition or a management buyout
Seasonality in business financing needs - example - Xmas retailer, etc
Companies that have high debt/equity ratios who are ineligible for traditional finance solutions
Turnaround and restructuring facilities/refinancing of existing debt
Financing The Purchase Of A Business
How Is Asset Based Lending Different From Bank Borrowing?
New clients of 7 Park Avenue Financial want to know the difference in bank borrowing versus alternative lending solutions such as ABL. In banking it's all about traditional corporate credit quality and that boils down to profits and capital structure design around a solid balance sheet with solid owner equity. Those elements historically define a great company poised for continued success. Asset based lending on the other hand revolves around shorter-term focus around converting current assets in cash flow and an understanding around the true value of the collateral of the company.
That latter ABL focus doesn't require that a company be doing as well as a bank financed company. So sales turnover and the liquidation value of assets are essentially what the ABL loan is about when it comes to corporate finance.
In accessing asset financing via an asset based credit line for working capital and cash flow your focus should be on the short term liquid assets of receivables and inventory. That will allow your borrowing facility to fluctuate and lower overall financing costs. That constant turnover of sales into cash will make the ABL solution even more beneficial, and, important to know, these facilities can very easily be increased as you generate higher revenues.
Credit types vary, and traditional bank financing places a heavy emphasis on the overall financial position of your income statement and balance sheet. Therefore, if that is the focus then firms such as yours with either balance sheet issues, or experiencing temporary financial losses or other negative circumstances do not quality for margined lines of credit with institutions such as Canadian chartered banks.
HOW IS THE ASSET BASED CREDIT LINE LIMIT CALCULATED?
The calculation of your borrowing limits under your credit facility has some basic formulas attached to it . Accounts receivable and inventory are the two key drives, but fixed assets and any real estate can play a key role also.
The formula and final limits of your facility are called a ' borrowing base ' and this number is reviewed, typically every month to determine what your new limits are based on the value of your a/r and inventories. This is the revolving part of the facility, and often the fixed assets and real estate part of the facility are under a separate term type of loan. Usually the advance rate on your sales/receivables is higher than the inventory part of the facility, but it should be recognized that asset based lenders are experts in understanding the true value of inventory and are in a position to generate higher advance rates than chartered banks.
Typically A/R under 90 days is an essential part of the borrowing formuls. Typically funds are advanced a 85-90% of the a/r portfolio under 90 days. As you collect receivables your reduce the advances that have been made under the facility, not dissimilar to a bank LOC. The ABL underwriter will look at your overall DSO/COLLECTION period and also look at individual issues such as any one client being a large percentage of yoru sales ( 'concentration' ) or any set-offs you might have in place with suppliers or customers .
KEY POINT - It is essential that your firm is up to date on provincial and federal taxes, as CRA arrears can destory your lenders security on the facility. If you do have CRA arrears they can be paid out at the start of the facility, or you can ensure you have a documented payment plan in place on those arrears.
Inventory advances are where Asset Based Lenders shine. They understand the different components of inventory such as raw materials, work already in process, and finished goods. Their ability to underwrite and advance against inventories is a key differentiator in asset based lending. To you the borrower it's simply more borrowing power!
Asset based lines of credit take the reverse position from banks, simply that you have the assets, let's finance your firm on the strength of your assets, with minimal, if any, in fact, focus on ratios, covenants, outside collateral, operating metrics, personal guarantees, etc.
An asset based line of credit partner will tend to work through with your unique challenges in your industry or your business model. Some of those challenges might be the seasonality of your business or the special ‘one-of' situations we referred to. Some of those circumstances might be making an acquisition, restructuring your firm, or being in the receipt of large new contracts or purchase orders that are out of line with your traditional financing arrangements.
Operating capital financing, or rather the lack thereof(!) can often be the reason your firm is unable to take advantage of strong market opportunities to maintain your competitiveness.
One of the largest parts of an asset based lending facility is receivables financing. In small firms this is often taken care of by a factoring facility – your invoices are sold to the lender, you receive immediate cash, and you can structure facilities around such issues as credit insurance, non-recourse to your firm, etc.
The asset based line of credit, in a true sense, offers all of the advantages of factoring but operates instead like a true bank facility – your receivables, and inventory, are highly margined to the maximum value, and your access to cash availability is directly commensurate to your sales growth – in other words, you have no real cap on your operating facility – you receive cash for receivables and inventory as fast as you can sell and move our product and services!
Your firm will probably find that anyone in the asset based finance area has a stronger knowledge of your business model and assets. If your company has a strong focus on understanding the true collateral value in your business, and is focused on asset turnover in a/r and inventory your firm will be a true beneficiary of the asset based credit line. The general attributes of ABL financing
What Does Asset Based Lending Cost? Factors To Consider
Asset based lending credit lines and facilities usually are higher cost than bank financing when it comes to credit in the capital markets. The low interest rate environment has allowed asset based lenders to become more competitive and in a small number of cases asset based lenders can be competitive or on par with banks on higher quality deals. From a borrowers perspective clients need to weight the access to significantly more business capital versus the cost, more so when your company cannot in fact access bank credit.
Other tradeoffs are the requirements for more regular reporting on your receivables and payables and inventories and any miscellaneous audits or appraisals that might be required by the asset based lender to justify the higher borrowing levels. As we have stated the ability to access cash without the typical bank covenants and operating metrics is always top of mind with borrowers utilizing asset based lending. The overall flexibility in an asset based credit line tends to work well beyond traditional finance when all the options of each type of financing are considered.
While determining your borrowing strategy should be individualized based upon each business and tailored to your business’s specific needs, borrowers seeking working capital financing need to seriously consider the benefits of working with an asset-based lender, as it can provide greater flexibility and options for businesses seeking to look beyond traditional bank lending. Share which lending strategy has worked best for your business in the comments below.
Since asset-based loans don’t rely on the borrower’s operating performance, but on the quality of the collateral, fewer financial covenants are required of the borrower, and as compared with traditional bank lending, ABL lenders typically require a much more limited degree of reporting back to the lender.
KEY POINT - ABL facilities usually start at a minimum of 250k relative to the approved sized of the borrowing facility. This is the lowest end of the scale and there is no real upper limit to a company borrowing if the firm satisfies assets and sales revenue size.
If a company is too small, or for some reason is not eligible for abl lending then a factoring/ receivable financing facility should always be considered. Even startups or very early stage and smaller firms can consider the factor funding solution. Access to cash flow is fairly quick and easy for firms looking to just finance receivables. Providing your financials, aged payables and receivables and some other general info on your firm will typically get you started and approved quickly.
7 Park Avenue Financial recommends a CONFIDENTIAL RECEIVABLE FINANCING facility for firms considering just an a/r solution, outside of the asset based credit line.
This type of facility allows you to cash flow all your sales immediately, and your firm is responsible for all the billing and collecting very similar to a bank facility. In lieu of an interest rate commercial factoring firms chared a fee for discounting the invoice, and this is typically in the 1.5-2% range , so if your firm absorbs that fee and has good margins your cash flow problems are certainly solved.
We recommend that you seek out and talk to an experienced and credible advisor in Canadian business financing to determine if the advantages of an asset based line of credit work for your firm! It is a business loan with collateral that works.
7 Park Avenue Financial :
South Sheridan Executive Centre
2910 South Sheridan Way
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7 Park Avenue Financial provides value-added financing consultation for small and medium-sized businesses in the areas of cash flow, working capital, and debt financing.
Business financing for Canadian firms, specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing, Equipment Leasing, franchise finance and Cdn. Tax Credit Finance. Founded 2004 - Completed in excess of 100 Million $ of financing for Canadian corporations.
Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations. He is an experienced
business financing consultant.
Prior to founding 7 Park Avenue Financial in 2004 his employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.
Stan has over 40 years of business and financing experience. He has been recognized as a credit/financial executive for three of the largest technology companies in the world; Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment and Cable & Wireless. Stan has had in-depth, hands-on experience in assessing and evaluating thousands of companies that are seeking financing and expansion. He has been instrumental in helping many companies progress through every phase of financing, mergers & acquisitions, sales and marketing and human resources. Stan has worked with startups and public corporations and has many times established the financial wherewithal of organizations before approving millions of dollars of financing facilities and instruments on behalf of his employers.
Click here for the business finance track record of 7 Park Avenue Financial
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