The pandemic has caused severe social and economic disruption around the World, forcing many businesses to adapt or face the risk of going under, and having to close their doors.
Looking into the future, it is certain that we will all be working and consuming differently than we did before the crisis. Any attempt to hold on to the pre-crisis mode will fail resoundingly as this new reality is here to stay. Companies and industries must respond to the current challenges by finding new answers to new problems.
Following the three guidelines of creating a preventive culture, enhancing cooperation, and shifting mindset, businesses will be able to face the pandemic’s consequences while discovering new ways of growth and profitability.
The immediate need is to implement a comprehensive set of policies to alleviate solvency strains, and, where necessary, prevent bankruptcies of companies that will be viable in the longer run. In Europe, a new culture is rapidly developing, one that is focused on prevention rather than reaction, which has been further strengthened by the obligation of transposing the European Restructuring Directive 2019/1023 to the national legislations of member states by July 17, 2021.
Now more than ever, all participants to the business ecosystem need to cooperate in order to thrive, not just survive.
Many businesses will suffer greatly due to the pandemic and they will need efficient solutions to enable the continuance of their activity. Customers will expect their financial partners to be proactive and anticipate their needs in the most minor details. Faster and better advice will be expected across all channels, while a new customer-centricity era is arising.
In the case of banks, this appears to be an era of increasing nonperforming loans, that will add up to the already existing ones. The difficult times ahead make it mandatory for banks to have a thorough understanding of their customers, gain deep insights into the needs of particular sectors and subsectors, but also to assess individual borrowers, as business models can be very different from one company to another within the same sector.
Instead of focusing on traditional ways of serving customers, banks could instead aim to help them in their neuralgic points, to facilitate the continuance of their businesses. They may consider other services as well, sometimes even partnerships with other specialists in the market, to identify the proper solutions and, therefore, meet a wider range of needs.
Within the same context, insolvency practitioners worldwide are no longer only dealing with the aftermath of a bankruptcy declaration. Instead, they are using their significant business experience and acquired professional skills as consultants for companies or their financial partners, promoting a proactive mindset meant to avoid insolvency and contributing to the general wellbeing of the economy. They are drawing-up business restructuring plans, assisting companies in implementing them and providing expert advice to financial institutions, acting as important connecting elements within already established or new business relationships.
In Cyprus, as most businesses are family-run, the owners, fearing the stigma of failure, have the tendency to support their business through personal lending, this being also the case for non-viable businesses, that should not be kept alive with no real perspective of becoming viable soon enough.
This mindset should shift, considering that there are several operational restructuring options available. Preventive restructuring tools, like Examinership, should be used more often, as they aim at saving a viable business through debt restructuring. For such procedures to be efficient, special attention needs to be paid to early signs of distress not only by the business owners but also by their partners. This way, adequate action plans could be put in place in a timely manner, safeguarding the interests of all parties involved.
At CITR, a business will be able to receive the proper tools to prosperity benefiting from our extensive combined experience of more than 20 years as specialists in business restructuring, as well as in distress and crisis management.
Article written by Alina Zechiu.