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10 Ways to Finance Your Ecommerce Business

It has always been a challenge for small businesses to get financing. Circumstances worsened when banks tightened their lending criteria five years ago. Most banks lend only to businesses with an established operating history. If you are just starting up an ecommerce business, or, if you find traditional loan terms too stringent, there are other options.

In this article, I will list 10 ways to raise money for your ecommerce business.

Personal Savings

Also known as bootstrapping, this works well when you are receiving very low returns on your money and the cost of borrowing is high. You can take money from your 401(k) but withdrawals before age 59½ are subject to penalties that can be steep. It is not advisable to totally empty your retirement or rainy day fund.

The advantages of using personal savings are:

  • No costly and complicated applications;
  • No interest to pay;
  • Ownership of your business is not diluted.

Friends and Family

Friends and family may make an interest free loan or they may ask for interest. While these individuals can be more forgiving than a bank if you cant pay on time, your relationship with friends and family may become strained if you cannot eventually pay them back. They may also start offering advice as to how to run your business.

Credit Cards

This is one of the easier ways to access funds, especially if you have several cards. The downside is that if the interest rates are high and your business cash flow only allows you to make the minimum payments, you will be paying off the cards for a long time at a high cost.

Peer-to-peer Loan

Online networks such as Lending Club and Prosper allow individuals to make unsecured loans to other individuals. Lending Club facilitates business loans of up to $100,000 at rates starting at 5.9 percent with one to five year payback periods. Origination fees apply and interest rates can run up to 29.9 percent for riskier ventures.

FMC receives credit agreement to fund Cheminova acquisition

FMC Corporation announced that it has executed $3.5 billion of unsecured credit agreements with lenders to facilitate its agreement to acquire all the outstanding equity of Cheminova A/S.

This financing commitment is an important step in our acquisition and integration of Cheminova, said Pierre Brondeau, FMCs president, CEO and chairman. We were gratified by the strong support provided by our 26 banks, which substantially over-subscribed the syndication.

FMC entered into the new credit agreements on October 10, 2014. A new term loan agreement provides up to $2 billion of senior unsecured loans that can be drawn to finance the acquisition of Cheminova, to pay associated fees and expenses, and to support other transactions related to the acquisition. The term loan facility will have a termination date five years after it is drawn for the acquisition. FMC also amended and extended the term of its $1.5 billion revolving credit agreement which now expires on October 10, 2019.

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner amp; Smith Incorporated acted as joint lead arrangers.

BBVA Compass welcomes four new members to its Atlanta advisory board

HOUSTON, Sept.23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — BBVA Compass has added four new members to its Atlanta advisory board to support its business and development efforts in Georgia.

We are excited to welcome this seasoned group of executives to our board, said John Giegerich, BBVA Compass Atlanta city president. Their background, expertise and community reach make them a great asset to help us grow in the Atlanta market.

The new members are:

  • George Boltwood, retired BBVA Compass vice chairman and head of Corporate and Commercial Banking. He has a bachelors degree in business administration from the University of Georgia and completed the Graduate School of Credit amp; Financial Management program at Dartmouth College.
  • Satish Lathi, the managing partner at Live Oak Realty Investments, an Atlanta-based development and investment management firm.He holds a bachelors degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and masters degrees from Georgia State University and Northwestern University. Lathi has more than 25 years of experience in construction and development.
  • Tom Mahaffey, the president and CEO of Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce, an organization fostering economic development in the Sandy Springs area. He holds a bachelors degree from Georgia State University and has more than 25 years of business experience.
  • James Dartlin Dart Meadows, partner at Balch amp; Bingham LLP, a nationally recognized corporate law firm with offices in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Washington DC Meadows has a bachelors and law degree from West Virginia University and has been practicing law in Atlanta for more than 30 years.

About BBVA Group

BBVA Compass is a subsidiary of BBVA Compass Bancshares Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BBVA (NYSE: BBVA) (MAD: BBVA). BBVA is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group has a solid position in Spain, is the largest financial institution in Mexico and has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt region of the United States. Its diversified business is geared toward high-growth markets and relies on technology as a key sustainable competitive advantage. Corporate responsibility is at the core of its business model. BBVA fosters financial education and inclusion, and supports scientific research and culture. It operates with the highest integrity, a long-term vision and applies the best practices. The Group is present in the main sustainability indexes. More information about the BBVA Group can be found at www.bbva.com.

About BBVA Compass

BBVA Compass is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 673 branches, including 342 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 77 in Arizona, 62 in California, 45 in Florida, 38 in Colorado and 20 in New Mexico. BBVA Compass ranks among the top 25 largest US commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (5th). BBVA Compass has been recognized as one of the leading small business lenders by the Small Business Administration and recently earned the top ranking with customers in American Bankers 2014 annual reputation survey of the top 25 largest US retail banks. Additional information about BBVA Compass can be found at www.bbvacompass.com, by following @BBVACompassNews on Twitter or visiting newsroom.bbvacompass.com.

Editors Note:
BBVA Compass is a trade name of Compass Bank, member FDIC.

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SOURCE BBVA Compass

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Advantage Capital Business Loans Promotes Ethical Lending

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Although the US economy has been growing at an increasingly rapid rate throughout 2014, some of the news for small business owners is unfortunately not so rosy. Its no secret that getting approved for a small business loan can still be exceptionally difficult. Perhaps even worse, many small business lenders offering deceptively easy business loans have been preying on unsuspecting business owners with dishonest practices. Thats why its so important to work with a trustworthy, transparent small business lender like Advantage Capital Business Loans. Not only does the innovative lending model at ACBL ensure that professionals remain in control of their own economic future, but the firm is committed to ethical practices that are beneficial for both parties in any financial partnership.

In an article for Forbes, Fundera Head of Strategy Brayden McCarthy writes that, over the past two decades, small business loans have fallen from half of all banks loans to about 30%. To fill the void, a variety of small business lenders have cropped up to take the place of small business averse traditional lenders. While small business lenders offer a number of benefits that big banks simply cant match, some brokers use unscrupulous tactics and there is very little oversight to rein them in.

Funderas McCarthy tells the story of one small business owner who applied for a loan through a broker who quoted a rate of 45%, even though any reasonable lender would likely agree to a rate of around 30%. McCarthy explains that the 15 percentage point difference is what the broker was pocketing for himself as a finders fee, and would have been passed onto the unsuspecting borrower. Incredibly, even though this type of behavior is predatory and deliberately misleading, its still legal. In stark contrast to these dubious lending practices, the loan experience at ACBL makes certain that every applicant feels comfortable at every stage of their financial journey from application to financing and throughout the payback period.

Business owners who choose to work with ACBL for Los Angeles business loans appreciate that their underwriters speak to every business owner to understand the precise nature of their company and get a sense of their specific financial needs. From there, they will create a customized loan with a manageable and affordable payback period. Unlike loans at less reputable brokers and traditional banks, ACBL loan recipients can expect benefits that include:

  • No prepayment penalties
  • No hidden fees
  • An automatic, agreed upon daily payment
  • Management of your own cash flow
  • Flexible options

Though todays broader, more diverse financial market may be more perilous than ever, it also offers more opportunities than ever, thanks to lenders like ACBL. To take control of your own economic future, dont hesitate to contact Advantage Capital Business Loans for a free quote on a no obligation custom business loan at (877) 379-0202, or online at AdvantageCapitalBusinessLoans.com.

PR submitted by www.Cyberset.com

SOURCE Advantage Capital Business Loans

ANNOUNCING AWARDEES OF THE FIRST-EVER SMALL BUSINESS LEADER …

DENVER, Oct. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna Foundation, and Opportunity Finance Network awarded $100,000 in grants to two mission-driven financial institutions for excellence in small business lending. The New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC), the first-place winner, won $75,000 for the breadth and depth of its small business lending activities in New York, and Opportunity Fund, the runner-up, won $25,000 in recognition of its innovative small business lending products in California.

The Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders (SBLA) is the first-ever award to recognize innovation, growth, and excellence in financial performance and impact in small business lending among community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other mission-driven lenders. CDFIs are community lenders that are 100 percent dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities. The award is a collaboration among Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna Foundation, and Opportunity Finance Network.

The SBLA Selection Committee awarded $75,000 to NYBDC for the size and scope of its robust portfolio of programs, partnerships, and products serving low-income borrowers, people of color, women, immigrants, and other underserved markets across New York State. In 2013, NYBDC made $283.5 million in loans to 410 businesses creating and/or retaining 8,000 jobs. NYBDC is one of the countrys top mission-driven US Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders, with a total managed portfolio of more than $1.2 billion in loans.

NYBDC is advancing the economic welfare of the State of New York by making loans to growing small businesses. These loans help the businesses increase their revenues and create jobs, said Esta Stecher, CEO of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. NYBDC is the first of many innovative small business lenders that we will celebrate in the coming years. The Award is part of our ongoing commitment to help small businesses grow and to shine a light on those lenders that exemplify innovation and excellence.

NYBDC was one of 36 high-performing, mission-driven lenders nominated in the inaugural year of this national awards program. The size of the pool of strong nominees reflects of the importance of an awards program of this kind whose goal is to increase visibility of small business lenders and to showcase successful programs.

We are deeply honored to receive the first Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders, as well as to be selected from a group of such amazing and impactful community lenders, said Pat MacKrell, President and CEO of NYBDC. For us, this award not only recognizes our achievements, but also supports our ongoing commitment to make a deeper impact in the diverse communities we serve, where our capital and support are needed most.

Phillip Henderson, President of the Surdna Foundation, said, Businesses owned by people of color, women, and immigrants are a critical feature of a communitys economic landscape. When the conditions are right, they can grow and create jobsand opportunities for advancementin the very places that most need them. NYBDCs investments are an acknowledgement of the promise of these small businesses as job creators and building blocks for increased economic activity.

NYBDCs mission is to assist, promote, and advance the business prosperity and economic welfare throughout New York State by providing loans to small businesses including start-up, early stage, and mature businesses with a particular emphasis on minority- and women-owned businesses. An example of its commitment to support minority businesses is MyCFO, a business acceleration pilot program pairing minority entrepreneurs with a seasoned business mentor to guide them through the small business loan process. It also manages the Brooklyn Loan Fund and Bronx Opportunity Fund, two new loan funds that focus on supporting minority, immigrant, and veteran-owned businesses.

The Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders also awarded $25,000 to Opportunity Fund, a California-based community development financial institution (CDFI). The Selection Committee chose to honor Opportunity Fund in recognition of its innovative products and sustained growth in small business lending. Its EasyPay loan product, for example, allows small business owners to repay loans automatically through daily credit and debit card sales. Opportunity Funds growth strategy also focuses on providing financing to the underserved target market of independent truck drivers.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna Foundation, and Opportunity Finance Network presented the awards at the OFN 30th Anniversary Conference in Denver, CO.

To schedule an interview with the Awardees, Goldman Sachs, the Surdna Foundation, or the distinguished SBLA Selection Committee, please contact Stefanie Arck, Vice President, Strategic Communications at Opportunity Finance Network, at sarck@ofn.org.

About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an initiative to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital and business support services. The program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to this combination of education, capital and support services best addresses barriers to growth. The program is active in urban and rural communities across the United States. Sites include Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and Salt Lake City, as well as a National Cohort at Babson College. Access to capital is also available in parts of eight states: Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. For more information, visit: www.gs.com/10000smallbusinesses.

About The Surdna Foundation

The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. For five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity. Learn more at surdna.org.

About Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)

OFN, the leading network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2012, OFNs Network originated more than $33.3 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, and financed development/rehab of 960,000 housing units, started or expanded nearly 94,000 business and microenterprises, and helped create or maintain nearly 600,000 jobs. More information is available at: www.ofn.org.

About NYBDC

As a mission based lender, NYBDC looks beyond simply generating shareholder value and return on investment to focus on the broader mission of promoting prosperity and opportunity. Although our operations, in many respects, mirror the commercial lending function of a traditional bank, we are focused on providing leveraged capital to small businesses that are unable to obtain loans through traditional means. Our mission is to provide capital to facilitate jobs growth and economic development. More information on NYBDC is available at www.nybdc.com.

About Opportunity Fund

Opportunity Fund is a not-for-profit social enterprise helping thousands of California families build financial stability using microloans for small businesses, microsavings accounts, and community real estate financing. Now Californias leading microfinance provider, Opportunity Fund began based on the idea that small amounts of money and financial advice could help people make permanent and lasting change to improve their own lives. Since making its first loan in 1995, the team has deployed $300 million into local communities. Our mission is to advance the economic well-being of working people by helping them earn, save and invest in their future. Learn more at www.opportunityfund.org.

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=28418

Stefanie Arck
Vice President, Strategic Communications
Opportunity Finance Network

Banks repay bailout loans to ECB, hurting lending to businesses

European Central Bank (ECB) plans to bolster lending to business were dealt another setback on Friday after banks decided to repay billions of euros of cheap ECB credit, sapping money available to lend to business.

The news came a day after the central banks fresh offer of up to EUR400 billion of low-cost loans fell flat, casting doubt on its plans to shore up the eurozones faltering economy.

On Friday (19 September), the ECB announced that banks would repay almost EUR20 billion euros of similar credit, known as long-term refinancing operations, that the ECB had advanced at the height of the eurozones debt crisis.

That could signal that money from the central banks latest round of cheap credit is simply being recycled to pay back old loans, rather than being lent to companies.

In any event, the unexpected spike in the weekly repayment of the ECB loans, handed out to avert a credit crunch, erodes funds available to lend now.

This money will probably not get to the real economy, said Michael Schubert, an economist with Commerzbank, commenting on this weeks round of cheap four-year loans. Thats in large part due to weak credit demand.

The ECB has slashed the cost of borrowing to near zero and flooded banks with cheap credit, but it has been unable to coax them into lending more. That means much is now riding on its pledge to buy repackaged debt, known as asset backed securities.

ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to outline how this will work in the coming weeks. Many experts believe the market for packages of loans, often secured on homes, is too small to have much impact on lending.

One reason for low bank lending in many of the 18 countries in the euro zone is nervousness among businesses, made worse by the conflict in Ukraine and the sluggish economy. That can be seen in low price inflation, which plumbed new lows in August. Friday brought more bad news as one closely watched measure of inflation expectations hit its lowest point this year.

Secured loans in the new regulatory world

Secured loans in the new regulatory world

Steve Walker, managing director of Promise Solutions, takes a look at the second charge market now that regulation has moved over to the FCA from the OFT

2014 has been a big year for the mortgage market, not least from a regulatory point of view. With both the business and consumer press filling their column inches with it, it was almost impossible to miss the implementation of the Mortgage Market Review earlier this year. By comparison, the Financial Conduct Authority regulation of the second charge mortgage market was significantly more low-key.

In one way this is understandable. The FCA’s regulation of the sector is set to be phased in. Indeed, in the run up to April 1 there was very little concrete information on offer from the regulator. And when information was released there was, at first glance, not a lot of change. The Office of Fair Trading’s regime was carried across and the regulator announced it would not be until 2016 that the Mortgage Credit Directive would be implemented.

Many advisers (and providers for that matter) mistakenly believed that this was some kind of a reprieve. They thought, since full regulation wouldn’t come into play until 2016, for now there was no reason to change anything. They could carry on operating as they always have, employing the same processes and giving very little thought to the regulator.

Comply with standards
This has transpired to be the wrong approach. Whilst the FCA has stated it will be two years before regulation is fully in place, it has also made it quite clear that from April 1 all consumer credit firms must comply with its standards (including the principles for businesses).

This means that, at the very least, all those operating in the second charge arena should be able to demonstrate adherence to the Consumer Credit Act and that they are treating customers fairly (TCF).

So what does that mean? Well, in its simplest form, TCF means advisers must ensure that the product they recommend is the most suitable to a client’s needs. Brokers who have so far chosen to avoid secured loans and pay them very little consideration are probably already flouting TCF rules.

Secured v. remortgage
How can a broker say he has chosen the best product for his client when he has not even considered the possibility that a secured loan may be a better option that a remortgage?

It is therefore imperative that brokers embrace secured loans as a sister product to remortgages.

A key part of this new compliance regime that brokers should adhere to is the need to evidence the sales process. This means not only considering a secured loan as a possible solution for his client, the broker must also be able to prove that he has done so with appropriate well researched documentation.

This applies equally if a client is referred for a secured loan or if a remortgage turns out to be the best option. It is vital that the broker has an audit trail should the regulator come knocking. Brokers can align themselves with a provider which has the systems in place to quickly and efficiently provide documentation detailing the loan options available. Initial quotes and illustrations can be obtained in around a minute so this is an easy task, especially on straight forward cases

Scenario
It’s also essential for brokers to maintain some responsibility for clients. Let’s look at a scenario. A client is currently on a low tracker rate. He needs to raise extra funds and, rather than give up his attractive rate, he could take out a secured loan. If he is to get a rate of around 7 per cent, it will be the best decision for the client. The client is referred to a secured loan broker. However, unbeknown to the broker, the only loan available to the client has a much higher rate, say 12 or 13 per cent. Because the broker has not revisited the case he will never know this.

Networks
What we are currently seeing is networks taking the lead when it comes to compliance. Networks have never had responsibility for their clients when it came to secured loans and so, understandably, offered very little in the way of compliance advice. Now that secured loans are regulated and (most) networks have applied for the necessary permissions, they are taking compliance seriously – as one would expect.

Directly authorised brokers should now be looking to build relationships with partner firms who can offer them the same level of compliance support.

Secured loans can no longer be ignored and – given their wide-ranging benefits – nor should they be. Brokers should be revisiting their sales process as, contrary to what some may believe, the regulator is unlikely to turn a blind eye when it comes to second charges and FOS complaints are difficult to defend without proper documentation.

If brokers can’t produce a file to evidence that both a loan and remortgage were considered, and that what was recommended was the most appropriate option, brokers could be asking for trouble.

MNS leaders’ firms owe Rs 17.79 cr to sick bank

Six firms run by top Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leaders owe Rs 17.79 crore to The CKP Cooperative Bank Ltd, which is currently under an administrator with severe restrictions on its functioning.

The money owed by these six firms — Matoshree Infrastructure Private Limited, Matoshree Engineering and Developers, Matoshree Properties, Matoshree Realtors, Yashraj Developers and Vijayraj Developers – puts them on the number 2 slot in the banks list of non-performing assets (NPAs).

The six companies are run by two senior MNS leaders Rajan Shirodkar and Nitin Sardesai, party chief Raj Thackerays cousin Jitendra Thakare, and their business associate Vijay Vaidya. While Jitendra Thakare himself is not a member of MNS, his wife Shalini is, and she is the partys candidate from Dindoshi in Wednesdays assembly election. Raj Thackeray himself was a director in Matoshree Infrastructure Private Limited from November 2007 to October 2011.

The NPAs are the main reason why the once flourishing bank now lies crippled. Among the curbs imposed on it by the RBI is a withdrawal limit of Rs 1000, which has left small depositors savings locked and out of bounds.

As per the banks financial statement compiled on May 31 this year, it had 1.62 lakh depositors with Rs 553.24 crore in deposits. In contrast, the bank had extended loans to the tune of Rs 617.55 crore. And as things stand today, loans worth Rs 248.29 crore have been declared NPAs and the bank has declared a loss of around Rs 155 crore.

The CKP Bank first it headlines in 2012 when the Reserve Bank of India imposed a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on it for a litany of violations — extending finance to borrowers outside its area of operations, exceeding exposure to housing and real estate, breaching single-party exposure limit, extending loans to directors, exceeding individual limit of unsecured advances, issuing bank guarantee to an entity not banking with it, and sanctioning overdraft against third-party FDs to one of its directors. The same year, an administrator was appointed to take over the operations.

On April 30 this year, the RBI imposed fresh restrictions, including one which allowed withdrawals of not more than Rs 1,000.

Vijay Vaidya, one of the directors in the six firms, in fact, has two more companies — Nanai Dairy Pvt Ltd and Avishkar Developers – that owe another Rs 9.26 crore to the bank.Topping the list of CKP is defaulters is group controlling four firms — Laabha Creations, Labdhi Corporation, Aaditya Textiles and Vira Textiles. Together, the four entities owe Rs 18.08 crore to the bank. Third on the list is Milind Developers at Rs 16.71 crore.

On Monday, Rajan Shirodkar, chairman of Matoshree Infrastructure Private Limited, said the all six group firms have repaid the interest component on all outstanding. We had total outstanding of Rs 25 crore and have paid interest on all of them. In fact after we started repaying, the bank has written to the RBI that our credit facility should be kept open. We never intended to default on repayments but due to unforeseen circumstances we could not service the debts on time.

Vijay Vaidya, referring to the two firms he runs outside the Matoshree group, said the money he owes to the bank were secured loans. The bank has my assets worth Rs 52 crores against my credit of around Rs 10 crore. The bank is all set to recover the dues by selling off the assets, he said.

Nitin Sardesai, who is contesting on an MNS ticket from Mahim, blamed the downturn in construction industry for the six firms inability to service the debt. There were seven firms of Matoshree group that owed money to the bank. Of these, one has completely paid off the amount due. The other six firms have also repaid the interest component. The intention is to repay the entire sum, he said.

Bank administrator Subhash Patil said proceedings have been initiated to recover loans from all entities that have defaulted on repayment.

We have not spared anyone in making recoveries. We have initiated proceedings under section 101 of the Maharashtra State Co-operative Societies Act to recover the dues. Matoshree is among the many on the list. Properties of Nanai and Avishkar also have been attached and will be sold to recover the sum. As for Matoshree, they have started repaying their debt, said Patil.

Horizon Technology Finance Leads Venture Loan Facility for InVisage …

Horizon Technology Finance Leads Venture Loan Facility for InVisage Technologies

October 06, 2014: 04:15 PM ET

Horizon Technology Finance Corporation (NASDAQ: HRZN) (“Horizon”), a leading specialty finance company that provides secured loans to venture capital and private equity backed development-stage companies in the technology, life science, healthcare information and services, and cleantech industries, today announced it led a venture loan facility, in which Square 1 Bank participated, for InVisage Technologies, Inc. (“InVisage”), an advanced materials & imaging platform company. InVisage will use the funds primarily for working capital purposes.

“We are pleased to add InVisage to our top tier list of venture loan portfolio companies,” stated Gerald A. Michaud, President of Horizon. “InVisage’s QuantumFilm(TM) platform and series of products address the fundamental physics limitations of today’s silicon-based image sensors used in smartphone cameras and other applications. This loan facility provides InVisage with strategic capital to support the manufacturing and commercialization of its products.”

InVisage President and CEO, Jess Lee, shared, “We are pleased to have Horizon as one of our investment partners and are fortunate to have attracted top-tier investors that share our vision of creating the next era of cameras — fast, thin, high performance — to transform the mobile, photography and connected device segments. This significant loan facility is an affirmation of the growth opportunity we see for our QuantumFilm(TM) platform and series of products. We now have additional financial flexibility to drive and market our capabilities to Tier 1 customers.”

About Horizon Technology Finance

Horizon Technology Finance Corporation is a business development company that provides secured loans to development-stage companies backed by established venture capital and private equity firms within the technology, life science, healthcare information and services, and cleantech industries. The investment objective of Horizon is to maximize total returns by generating current income from a portfolio of directly originated secured loans as well as capital appreciation from warrants that it receives when making such loans. Headquartered in Farmington, Connecticut, with regional offices in Walnut Creek, California and Reston, Virginia, Horizon is externally managed by its investment advisor, Horizon Technology Finance Management LLC. Horizon’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “HRZN”. To learn more, please visit www.horizontechnologyfinancecorp.com.

About InVisage Technologies

InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed advanced materials & imaging platform company based in Menlo Park, Calif. that has developed QuantumFilm(TM), a breakthrough camera technology. Its first product captures high-fidelity, high-resolution images from mobile devices such as camera phones and digital cameras. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by GGV Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, Intel Capital, and OnPoint Technologies. More information is available at www.invisage.com.

About Square 1 Bank

Square 1 Bank is a full service commercial bank dedicated exclusively to serving the financial needs of the venture capital community and entrepreneurs in all stages of growth and expansion. Square 1’s expertise, focus and strong capital base provide flexible resources and unmatched support to meet our clients’ needs. Square 1 has offices coast-to-coast in Austin, the Bay Area, Boston, Denver, Durham, Los Angeles/Orange County, New York, San Diego, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.square1bank.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements included herein may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements other than statements of historical facts included in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements and are not guarantees of future performance, condition or results and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors, including those described from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Horizon undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement made herein. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release.

 

Moody’s affirms Veolia’s ratings; outlook stable

Approximately EUR9.9 billion of rated securities affected

London, 24 September 2014 — Moodys Investors Service, (Moodys) has today affirmed the Baa1
issuer and senior unsecured ratings and Baa3 junior subordinated debt
ratings of Veolia Environnement SA (Veolia).
The Prime-2 rating of Veolia was also affirmed. The rating
outlook is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

This rating action follows the publication of Veolias first half results
for 2014, and reflects (i) the groups progress in reducing debt,
streamlining its organisational structure and executing on its cost saving
programme; and (ii) the groups increased business and geographical
diversification after it took full control of Dalkia International in
July 2014, which should continue to support relatively stable cash
flow generation against the backdrop of ongoing margin pressure in the
French water business and a soft outlook for the waste division in Europe.

The rating affirmation recognizes that Veolia has successfully executed
its EUR6 billion disposal programme and carried out a range of measures
to conserve cash and cut debt since 2011, including capex reduction,
a scrip dividend, and the issuance of EUR1.47 billion of
hybrid securities. These measures have been the main driver of
the drop in net reported debt to EUR8.2 billion at year-end
2013 from EUR14.7 billion at year-end 2011. These
disposals have also allowed the group to streamline and re-focus
its organisation so that it now operates in 48 countries as opposed to
77 in 2011. The current ratings and outlook do not factor in the
potential disposal by Veolia of its 50% stake in its transportation
subsidiary Transdev given the execution risk associated with this transaction,
although Moodys notes that it has the potential to strengthen the
groups balance sheet.

The groups Baa1 ratings are based on Veolias scale and diversity
which is reflected in leading market positions in many different geographies
across its three divisions of water, environmental and energy services.
The diversity of its revenue base by business, contract type and
geography helps mitigate the negative effect on earnings from deterioration
in any one activity or region.

From a financial risk perspective, Veolia currently exhibits ratios
that are weak for its rating category, including funds from operations
(FFO) to net debt of 17.8% and retained cash flow (RCF)
to net debt of 15.6% as of 30 June 2014. This compares
with Moodys guidance for the Baa1 rating, which includes
FFO/net debt around 20%, RCF/net debt at least in the mid-teens
and FFO interest cover above 4.0x. This guidance factors
in the groups strategy to shift progressively from capital-intensive
businesses to more value-added activities, and from mature
economies to growing markets with an increased focus on industrial and
commercial customers as opposed to the traditional low-risk counterparties
in the public sector.

The rating affirmation reflects Moodys expectation of a modest
and gradual recovery in Veolias credit metrics by 2015 despite
the ongoing margin pressure experienced in the French water business and
the subdued outlook for GDP growth in Europe, which affects waste
volumes. The agencys expectation is mostly predicated upon
the continued execution by management of its cost saving programme (convergence
plan), which is planned to generate EUR750 million of cumulative
net cost savings by year-end 2015 from EUR422 million at 30 June
2014. In combination with the steps taken by the group to reduce
its interest expense bill and optimize tax, this should underpin
slow albeit steady cash flow growth and in turn support an improvement
in financial ratios.

OUTLOOK

The stable outlook is based on Moodys expectation of a timely delivery
of Veolias restructuring plan so as to offset the impact of a soft operating
environment and to result in a financial profile better aligned with the
agencys guidance for the Baa1 rating as discussed above.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

Given the currently weak credit metrics and execution risks associated
with its cost saving programme, Moodys does not consider
an upgrade of Veolias ratings to be likely in the near term. Upward
pressure on the ratings could develop over the medium to long term if
Veolia were to achieve RCF/net debt approaching 20% on a sustainable
basis.

Conversely, negative pressure on Veolias ratings could occur if
weaker-than-expected operating performance or failure by
the company to deliver on its planned restructuring programme were to
delay the expected improvement in credit metrics.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

Veolias ratings were assigned by evaluating factors that Moodys
considers relevant to the credit profile of the issuer, such as
the companys (i) business risk and competitive position compared with
others within the industry; (ii) capital structure and financial
risk; (iii) projected performance over the near to intermediate term;
and (iv) managements track record and tolerance for risk. Moodys
compared these attributes against other issuers both within and outside
Veolias core industry and believes Veolias ratings are comparable to
those of other issuers with similar credit risk.

Headquartered in Paris, France, Veolia Environnement SA
is one of two leading groups active globally in environmental services.
It provides drinking water to 94 million people, wastewater treatment
to 62 million people and waste management services to 51 million people.
The group is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges with a market
capitalisation of approximately EUR7.7 billion.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt,
this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation
to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series
or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings
are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moodys
rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider,
this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation
to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular
rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the
support providers credit rating. For provisional ratings,
this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation
to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive
rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt,
in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed
prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would
have affected the rating. For further information please see the
ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit
support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and
whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the
associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity.
Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures,
if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure
to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit
rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating
review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to
the lead rating analyst and to the Moodys legal entity that has issued
the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com
for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Paul Marty
Vice President – Senior Analyst
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moodys Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Monica Merli
MD – Infrastructure Finance
Infrastructure Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moodys Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454