3 Jun 2020

New Caledonia businesses get $US66m in Covid-19 loans

1:51 pm on 3 June 2020

The French High Commission in New Caledonia says almost 90 percent of applications for concessionary business loans have been approved.

Noumea bank

Noumea bank Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

A total of $US66 million was made available to help businesses bridge shortfalls caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Since the middle of April, 542 of the 620 applications have been accepted for the loans which are guaranteed for up to 90 percent by the French state, with the remainder of the risk being carried by local banks.

The High Commission said the loan applications were being vetted by New Caledonian banks which allow repayment terms varying between one to five years.

It said applications were refused in cases where a business was deemed to be already in difficulty before the coronavirus outbreak.

However, it said those rejected could seek mediation.

When the assistance was outlined in early April, property companies, finance companies and businesses in receivership were specifically excluded from the measures.

New Caledonia went into lockdown on 23 March after an inexplicable local case of Covid-19 transmission, which days later turned out to be a false positive.

All 20 cases to date have been imported, with the last positive test recorded this week among the French police squad flown in last month.

The French High Commission in New Caledonia.

The French High Commission in New Caledonia. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Walter Zweifel

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