Northen lights over Tromsø in Arctic Norway
“The need for leasing financing is increasing, and northern Norway is currently a market of opportunities”, says Stig-Are Eriksen, Director of Region North at SG Finans at a loan signing ceremony with NIB in Tromsø late November. SG Finans intends to allocate up to EUR 25 million of the EUR 150 million loan, for onlending to SMEs operating north of the Arctic circle.
“We have a strategic focus on the northern region of Norway, where we are looking at aquaculture fisheries, and of course tourism. We expect good growth in all these markets”, Mr Eriksen says, adding that there are several ongoing and planned road construction programs in the northern region of Norway. “So, we’re reasonably certain that the region will grow further.”
SG Finans has about 3,000 customers and funded assets of NOK 1.8 billion in northern Norway for leasing construction machinery, transport equipment and machinery, vans, equipment and cranes. For northern Norway, which also includes Trondelag, the funded assets constitute NOK 3.9 billion. The three largest sectors for SG Finans in the Nordic region are construction (33%), transport (25%) and agriculture (19%).
Eriksen heads a team of 21 financing professionals working with small and medium-sized customers from Trøndelag to Kirkenes. That entails extensive travelling.
Enterprises considered to be SMEs, in accordance with an EU definition, employ fewer than 250 people and have an annual turnover below EUR 50 million or an annual balance sheet of less than EUR 43 million. Typical customers for SG Finans in northern Norway employ from one to five people.
“It’s important to build good relationships, and our customers appreciate that we visit them where they live and work. Entrepreneurs in small and medium-sized businesses are interested in uncomplicated solutions, and leasing is easy”, Mr Eriksen says. “We provide our customers with the equipment they need to run their businesses.”
The loan agreement signed with SG Finans is a continuation of cooperation that started in 2013, when NIB provided a EUR 80 million loan programme for financing equipment leasing contracts with Norwegian SMEs. SG Finance allocated the funds to 1,500 projects in the construction, high-tech and manufacturing industries—and some other industries—with the aggregated project costs amounting to EUR 160 million.
NIB’s loan offering for onlending to SMEs includes environmental and renewable energy projects, investments in new machinery, production or service provision facilities, and investments in ICT and R&D.
"I look positively on the fact that we are making use of NIB's mandate to fund equipment to the SME market in the Arctic. This idea seems like a brilliant match to me,” says Mr Eriksen.
SG Finans AS, owned by Societe Generale Group of France, is Norway's leading finance company in equipment leasing and factoring. The mission of SG Finans is to cover the needs of Nordic trade and industry for high-capital equipment, liquidity and administrative services.
Director of Region North at SG Finans
SG Finans AS is Norway's finance company within equipment leasing and factoring. The company is represented in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Photo: Arild Moen
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