BIO stands for Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries. The mission of BIO is to support a strong private sector in developing and emerging countries by providing access to medium- and long term financing and by this to support economic growth and sustainable developments within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. With the BIO country list you can check whether your target country for investments is included.
BIO invests directly in local SMEs and large companies with a local foothold. Moreover, BIO invests indirectly by supporting micro-finance institutions, commercial banks, non-bank financial institutions, and investment companies and funds.
BIO invests in all sectors, but has a preference for agriculture and agribusiness concerning food production and processing for the local pulation and for export.
BIO provides medium and long term financing with a minimum amount of EUR 1 million. Financing can be executed in local currency, US$ or Euro. BIO can act as a co-investor. New companies or those who wish to expand their activities or strengthen their financial base can benefit from BIO's support in the form of:
- Debt financing
Additionally BIO provides subsidies for Technical Assistance (TA) to support the transfer of knowhow and skills and enhance professionalism through training courses and upgrading programs. Technical Assistance (TA) grant of up to 10% of the financing amount to be used for training, certification etc.
Each business case is approached individually and the financing is tailor-made. However the general framework is provided hereafter.
- Loan amount minimum Euro 1,000,000.
- Loan amount maximum 50% of the investments.
- Maturity of 3-10 years.
- Grace period (only interest is paid) of maximum 3 years.
- Interest fixed or variable and market conform.
- Secured loan, 100% collateral only (mortgage, pledge on assets or shares etc.)
- BIO always takes a minority stake, generally tied to a seat on the Board of Directors.
- Preferred equity position 15 – 25%
- BIO always intends the minority stake to be ceded to the other shareholders, third parties or on the financial market once the company has reached a sustainable maturity level.
- BIO also uses quasi-equity (mezzanine capital, subordinated loans, convertible loans, etc.) to strengthen the financial resources of up-and-coming companies, without diluting the position of its shareholders.
BIO’s signature is a guarantee of solvability and facilitates the mobilisation of resources by private sector borrowers by guaranteeing certain obligations on their behalf.
- BIO examines each project in terms of strategic feasibility, viability, managerial capacity and relevance to the country’s economic and social development and -impact.
- BIO will perform a due diligence including a visit to you company.
- Moreover, in order to ensure a sustainable investment, the different partners involved in the project are assessed on the level of corporate governance a compliance with social and environmental standards.
- Bio looks for sound companies with strong management willing to implement a CSR policy.
- A sound business plan is the basis for a successful application. The application process will take at least 6 months.