In announcing the development yesterday Aztec — which improves SME access to finance — said it will have unlimited capital resources from which to provide additional credit to small businesses here.
Aztec’s business model doesn’t see it lend money to firms; rather it acts as a middleman between companies and institutional investors; and the business is targeting firms who are hamstrung by late payments and lack of access to financing, as its clients.
The SME will register with Aztec and sell outstanding payment invoices to a member of its network of investors, usually at a discount. This gives the investor a profit on the transaction and the SME the bulk of its outstanding invoice.
Speaking yesterday, Aztec’s vice-president of business development, Colm Devine, noted recent separate findings from the ESRI and InterTrade Ireland showing that accessing finance is one of the greatest obstacles to growth for SMEs, while an increasing number of such firms also have some debtors over 90 days. “We are pleased to be able to provide companies (especially SMEs) who are experiencing this difficulty with an alternative to banking finance.”
Also at yesterday’s announcement, Jobs and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton welcomed Aztec’s establishment as “an innovative new service for Irish SMEs to help improve cash flow” and said “improving access to finance is a key part of the Government’s plans for jobs and growth”.
Aztec has been established by a team of experienced international finance professionals and is almost 30% owned by Singapore-based private investment group, the Chandler Corporation.
While some companiesalready provide similar services — particularly in Britain and the US — Aztec is the first to do it on a global basis. It will initially be looking at the Irish, Spanish, Italian and Greek markets but plans to open offices in Brazil and Poland; and, later, in Asia and the US.
According to chief operating officer Oliver Gabbay, Ireland was the “obvious choice” — due to its geographical location, positive business and fiscal environment, and highly-skilled/multilingual workforce — to establish headquarters.
The initial positions in Dublin will be in the areas of processing, marketing, IT and accounts.