22 january 2016

Acofi Gestion announces the entry of the European Investment Fund into its Predirec Innovation 2020 fund

With the arrival of the European Investment Fund (EIF) for €30 million, ACOFI Gestion has increased the investment capacity of the Predirec Innovation 2020 fund to €63 million.

Prédirec Innovation 2020 is dedicated to the pre-financing of the French Research Tax Credit (RTC) for innovative SMEs and small mid-market companies. The investment strategy pursued by ACOFI Gestion consists in financing SMEs or mid-market companies through the acquisition of matured or accrued Research Tax Credit receivables. Receivables are selected by NEFTYS, the fund’s advisor, with the approval of ACOFI’s Investment Board in accordance with a proven and rigorous process involving a network of experts and a dual security mechanism including a minimum increase of 10%. The fund’s investment period runs for 5 years, allowing management teams to also work on multi-year research programs for VSEs and SMEs. The expected return for investors is 2.5% and the final size of the fund is expected to reach €100 million, including €30 million from the EIF, a member of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group.

Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the EIB, said: ‘This fund creates new opportunities for job creation, growth and innovation in France. This is the EIB Group’s first investment in a diversified debt fund in France: a new financial instrument for French innovation.  By continuing to expand its range of financial instruments, the EIF and the EIB are increasing European support for innovative French companies to develop their activity, invest and grow. We will focus our action on mid-sized and very small companies, but also on small mid-market companies in order to facilitate the financing of their research and innovation programmes.’

‘This agreement is a further step in the EIF’s strategy to strengthen the ties between the contributions of institutional investors and the development and growth of SMEs and mid-market companies in Europe. The fund provides access to financing for SMEs engaged in R&D projects that often have limited access to bank financing. By selecting and financing strategies that pursue this objective, we intend to facilitate the mobilisation of private capital and thus increase the resources available to innovative SMEs that create jobs. We launched a new product in 2015 – EREM-Loan Funds, to invest in credit funds under the credit enhancement mandate – and have already invested €160 million of the available budget’, said Roger Havenith, Deputy Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund.

‘By joining the fund’s first investors, the EIF reinforces the legitimacy of the fund’s approach by giving it additional investment capacity. Thanks to its increased resources (more than €60 million to be invested to date), ACOFI and its partner Neftys will be able to meet the growing demand from companies wishing to benefit from the fastest possible confirmation of eligibility. The fund’s financing proposal is extremely attractive for innovative companies in their development phase, at a time when cash flows are often strained or even absent. In this respect, Neftys provides ACOFI with its experience and organisation for sourcing and pre-analysing dossiers with a high degree of effectiveness’, said Wissem Bourbia, Director of the Predict Innovation 2020 fund.

‘With more than €15 million of RTC financed in a few months in fields as varied as biotechnology, digital and industry, the fund has already proven its capacity to deliver and its usefulness for innovative VSEs and SMEs. Thanks to the support of the European Investment Fund and other major institutional investors, which have tripled the fund’s financing capacity, the solution for financing research and innovation programmes for French SMEs offered by the fund managed by ACOFI with the support of investors has become more sustainable’, said Arnaud Chambriard, CEO of NEFTYS.