Does Your Firm Have What it Takes for an ABL Facility with an Asset Based Lender?

Updated: February 24, 2011

And the reality is that the type of operating facilities that you are looking for are getting tougher to secure from Canada's major chartered banks. We are of course referring in general to firms that have some sort of challenge, because medium sized and large Canadian firms with great balance sheets, profits, and solid cash flows can access great credit terms from the banks.

Unfortunately that isn't the client profile we're talking to everyday - as owners we meet have challenges such as inability to secure the operating cash they need, the requirement to acquire additional assets, or even a full acquisition of a competitor. And that economic turbulence we mentioned earlier usually means that many firms are coming out of a turnaround type environment and are slowly getting their financials back in order. Therefore the ability to secure an ABL facility (abl = asset based lending) for inventory and receivables becomes the goal in asset financing.

So what is the real difference in asset financing under and abl facility compared to a bank line of credit, commonly called a 'revolver' in business finance. The best way we explain it to clients is that the bank focus is on cash flow, the asset based lender focuses on assets. Big difference!

So, does your firm qualify for abl financing? In general, as we stated, any firm with assets of receivables, inventory, equipment and real estate qualifies. Where the challenge comes in is deterring the overall quality of those assets as well as the size of the facility. An ABL facility is generally available for any firm with over 250k in a combination of receivables, inventory, and equipment. In certain cases even tax credit receivables can be financed.

Where you as a business owner have to focus is the choice of a partner in this type of financing. If your facility requirements are in the millions of dollars and you have high quality business assets (i.e. collectible receivables, inventory that turns) you can access significantly more credit than under a normal bank facility - at rates commensurate with bank financing.

Small firms pay a premium for this type of facility, but when you consider you can access almost all the business credit you need under such a line of credit, coupled with the ability to grow profits and revenues and take on additional orders... well, we'll let you decide if that's worth a premium.

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