BEIRUT: Subsidized loans extended to small-and medium-size companies declined 15.5 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 compared to last year, Kafalat SAL said in a statement. The number of loan guarantees stood at 953 in the first eleven months of 2012 compared to 1,182 in the same period last year. Total value of loans fell from $151.9 million, in the first 11 months of 2011 to $128.5 million during the same period in 2012.
The average loan size, however, increased to $134,786 in 2012 from $128,553, during the same period.
Mount Lebanon accounted for 41.3 percent of Kafalat loans, followed by south Lebanon with 22.3 percent of loans. The Bekaa Valley and north Lebanon received 16.9 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively. Beirut received 6.2 percent.
The agricultural sector accounted for 38.9 percent of total guarantees, followed by the industry sector, which accounted for 37.4 percent. Tourism businesses received 17.9 percent of loans followed by handicraft businesses which received 4.5 percent. IT and companies specialized in technology received 1.4 percent.
Kafalat is a private company that assists SMEs in accessing commercial bank funding through a scheme sponsored by the Central Bank. Kafalat provides loan guarantees based on business plans and feasibility studies.
It guarantees up to 75 percent of the loan amount and accruing interest during the grace period. It also guarantees up to 90 percent of the loan amount for startups offering a similar guarantee for interest during the loan’s grace period.
The National Institute for the Guarantee of Deposits owns 75 percent of Kafalat, while 25 percent is held jointly by some 50 Lebanese banks.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 17, 2012, on page 5.