November 27, 2019 / 12:45 PM / 11 days ago

Italy's BFF Banking looks to expand factoring services in Greece

ATHENS, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Italy’s BFF Banking Group is looking to expand its factoring services to public administration suppliers in Greece, eyeing more business from companies keen to shed state receivables, executives said on Tuesday.

BFF Banking Group set foot in Greece in 2017 as part of its expansion in Europe and has so far grown its business to 65 million euros ($71.64 million). Its clients are mainly suppliers to public hospitals and municipalities.

Factoring is a type of debtor finance where a business sells its receivables or invoices to a third party at a discount. Firms factor their receivable assets to meet cash needs.

The Greek state is notorious in delaying payments to suppliers and has been pressed by its official lenders that financed its bailouts to clear the backlog.

BFF offers factoring without recourse, meaning that if it fails to collect from the state bodies it does not revert to the client to get its money back.

“We are the only ones servicing the Greek market with this product. We take on the full risk so that customers can delete their exposure from their balance sheet,” Michele Antognoli, BFF Vice-President for International Markets, told reporters.

Greek banks also offer factoring services but with recourse.

“There is no appetite by Greek banks for more exposure to the public administration due to the long duration to collect the funds,” Antognoli said.

It usually takes 200-300 days to collect receivables from public administration bodies in Greece compared to about 160 days in Italy, he said.

Suppliers in the telecoms, utilities, energy and public construction sectors in Greece have expressed interest in BFF’s services. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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