New funding of €45 million is to be made available to Irish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
The funding comes with the addition of Bibby Financial Services (BFS) to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland's (SBCI) range of on-lenders.
In a joint statement, both organisations announced “a new lower-cost invoice financing fund for Irish SMEs”.
The agreement enables businesses to access “favourable rates” for BFS’s invoice finance facilities and is available immediately.
Invoice financing frees up cash for businesses by providing upfront payment against the value of outstanding invoices.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan welcomed the funding and said SMEs were "the lifeblood" of the economy.
“I welcome Bibby Financial Services Ireland’s addition to the SBCI’s range of on-lenders,” he said. “This latest partnership with BFS will provide an additional €45 million in lower cost funding to Irish SMEs.
“SMEs are the lifeblood of the Irish economy, so ensuring the finance needs of these businesses are met in today’s economic environment is therefore a priority.
“This new €45 million package further diversifies the funding available to SMEs at a critical time for Irish businesses especially those who include exports to the UK as part of their sales.”
BFS international chief executive Steve Box said the agreement would "act as a stimulus" to the Irish economy.
“We are delighted to announce our partnership with SBCI and to become its first invoice finance partner,” he said. “This agreement will act as stimulus to the Irish economy and forms part of our overall aim to support an increasing number of businesses in Ireland.
“At a time where there is some uncertainty in markets across Europe, the most basic support that SMEs need to grow and scale-up their businesses is access to finance.
“Our €45m facility agreed with SBCI will enable us to deliver lower cost, more flexible and competitive funding solutions to SMEs throughout Ireland.
“While there is still a high level of dependency on traditional banks amongst SMEs, we are seeing a growing appetite for alternative sources of finance and we look forward to helping Irish businesses to thrive and grow, both domestically and internationally.”
SBCI chief executive Nick Ashmore said BFS was "a global market leader" in the provision of invoice finance and "a high quality potential financing partner" to Irish SMEs.
“This facility will considerably strengthen BFS’s ability to serve the Irish market and provide a more competitive product,” he added.