Karatzas and Partners Law Firm

Karatzas & Partners advises Autohellas and StormHarbour in the first non-banking receivables securitization in Greece

Karatzas & Partners adivised AutoHellas S.A., the second largest independent car leasing company in Greece, and StormHarbour as the arranger of the innovative securitisation of automotive leases for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), originated by Autohellas. This transaction represents an important milestone for the Greek securitisation market as it is the first ABS transaction issued by a non-bank originator.

The transaction was funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Investment Fund (EIF), KfW and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Within its mandate to promote SME financing in Europe, KfW has invested a total of €25 million by purchasing senior notes benefiting from a first demand guarantee issued by the EIF, while the EIB and the EBRD have respectively subscribed to €32.3 million and €15 million of the senior notes. The senior notes guaranteed by EIF and purchased by the EIB will be guaranteed through the European Fund for Strategic Investments, part of the Juncker Plan. The junior notes that comprise the rest of the capital structure will be retained by the originator.

The operation is also part of the ENSI initiative (EIF-NPIs Securitisation Initiative), a cooperation platform between the EIB Group and National Promotion Institutions (NPIs), including KfW and the EBRD, which pursues the goal of stimulating access to SME credit in the spirit of the Juncker plan initiatives.

The joint investment under the ENSI initiative was arranged by StormHarbour and the senior notes are rated B+ and BBB- respectively by S&P and Scope. The transaction features an 18-month revolving period and will allow Autohellas to obtain medium-term liquidity, which will then be re-used by providing new leases to SMEs in Greece over the coming years.