Spain banks on movies

SGR pacts with La Caixa, Banesto for coin

Spain’s financial world is finally dipping its toe into film financing, encouraged by the Audiovisual SGR, a 7-month-old, Madrid-based mutual guarantee fund that underwrites bank credit for production, distribution and exhibition.

SGR has inked to guarantee credit from La Caixa, Spain’s biggest savings bank, for Spain’s film industry. It has also pacted with Banesto, one of Spain’s foremost banks, plus Ibercaja, Banco de Sabadell and Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo.

It is in talks to underwrite further financing lines from Banco Santander Central Hispano, Spain’s biggest bank, and Caja Madrid.

This is the first time La Caixa and SCH will lend to Spain’s film sector. Its financial sector traditionally regards filmmakers as bad risks.

News of the deals, all set up over the past few months, was unveiled Tuesday.

Credit tapped from these banks totals E23 million ($28.8 million). By guaranteeing loans, and thus minimizing risk, SGR has secured preferential low-interest rates of 0.5% above the Euro Interbank Offered Rate or Euribor.

SGR has finalized 13 loan guarantee deals, worth $4.4 million. Bank loans have gone to features (57% of coin), technical equipment (27%) and toon series (16%). Titles will be announced shortly.

SGR typically underwrites 10%-15% of a production, said deputy director Rafael Lambea. It is bankrolled by Spain’s ICAA Film Institute and Egeda, Spain’s producers’ rights collection society.

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