In order to combat the crisis affecting Luxembourg's economy, the Chamber of Commerce has introduced the Anti-Crisis Vaccine initiative (VaccinAntiCrise, www.vaccinanticrise.lu) in conjunction with the Chamber of Trades and with the support of the Luxembourg government, the mutual companies for loan guarantees (mutualités de cautionnement) of the two professional associations, the Luxembourg banks and consulting experts.
The Anti-Crisis Vaccine initiative allows businesses affected by the crisis to get support and assistance from experts selected by the professional associations, at special rates. These experts will diagnose the situation of applicant businesses and propose corrective measures to help them overcome their difficulties.
Who is concerned
The Anti-Crisis Vaccine is aimed at Luxembourg businesses holding a business permit and carrying out a craft, commercial or industrial activity in Luxembourg, as well as at members of certain liberal professions operating as commercial companies.
The following businesses are eligible:
- either businesses already suffering from the effects of the economic crisis in that they are already 'in difficulty';
- or businesses affected by the economic crisis but not yet 'in difficulty';
- or businesses facing material shortages preventing them from seizing opportunities in the context of the crisis (lack of resources, skills, know-how, capital, etc.).
However, the following businesses do not fall under the scope of application of the initiative:
- businesses subject to supervision by the CSSF or the Luxembourg Insurance Commission (Commissariat aux assurances);
- businesses that were already in difficulty before 1 July 2008;
- businesses that have had no full-time employees for at least 12 months at the time of receipt of the application to participate in the initiative;
- business that have a business permit but who are not entitled to aid from the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
The cost of assistance for the business depends on the 'package' recommended, which in turn depends on the situation of the business:
The fees charged by experts range between EUR 4,000 and EUR 20,000, depending on the modules making up the proposed package.
In addition to these packages, customised services adapted to the needs of the applicant can be offered on a case-by-case basis.
Financing: the local banks traditionally involved in financing local businesses offer financing for the service packages at competitive rates, either in the form of an overdraft or (preferably) a loan. Early repayment should be possible. Total financing can be provided, on a case-by-case basis, backed by guarantees to be provided by the applicant and/or against a surety provided by a mutual company for loan guarantees (mutualité de cautionnement).
Surety: at the request of the eligible business, a mutual company for loan guarantees participating in the initiative may guarantee all or part of the repayment of the overdrafts or loans granted. In this case the beneficiary businesses must become members of the mutual company for loan guarantee.
Subsidy: at the request of the eligible business, any dossier qualifying for the Anti-Crisis Vaccine initiative should, in principle, be able to benefit from a preferential, fixed-rate subsidy, the extent of which shall be determined at the discretion of the competent Ministry.
How to proceed
Definition of a 'business in difficulty'
The following are considered to be 'businesses in difficulty':
- large businesses who even if they use their own resources or funds that their owners/shareholders or creditors are prepared to contribute, are unable to stem losses that, without outside intervention by public authorities, will almost certainly cause them to go out of business in the short or medium term;
- micro, small and medium-sized businesses:
- in the form of a company with limited liability (generally a public limited company (société anonyme - SA) or limited liability company (société à responsabilité limitée - SARL) having lost more than half of its share capital, with more than one quarter of the share capital having been lost in the past 12 months;
- in the form of a company where certain partners have unlimited liability for the company's debts and more than half of the equity capital recorded in the company's accounts has been lost, with at least one quarter of these funds having been lost in the past 12 months;
- in any form whatsoever, if they satisfy the conditions for collective insolvency proceedings under the applicable national law.
Medium-sized business (SME): a business that employs less than 250 persons with turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million.
Small business: a business that employs less than 50 persons with a turnover or a balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 10 million.
Micro-business: a business employing fewer than 10 people with turnover or a balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 2 million.
Request for assistance
The business concerned must:
- complete the assistance request diagnostic questionnaire;
- return the duly-completed questionnaire by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to the Secrétariat de l’initiative VaccinAntiCrise, L-2981 Luxembourg, attaching or enclosing:
- the balance sheets;
- the income statements for the past 3 financial years;
- the budget of the current year; and
- the duly-signed general terms and conditions for participating in the initiative.
The Secretariat of the Anti-Crisis Vaccine initiative then sends the complete dossier to the relevant professional association to be checked for eligibility.
After analysing the questionnaire, the Secretariat of the Anti-Crisis Vaccine initiative informs the applicant as to whether or not it is eligible for the initiative.
If it is eligible, suitable assistance is offered, specifying the potential experts for the type of service selected.
The applicant that accepts the offer of assistance chooses an expert and defines an action plan with that expert prior to signing a service agreement.
The period during which the expert provides assistance varies between one week and 5 weeks depending on the situation of the business.