Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Who Will Fund Inventory Growth?

GDP grew at its fastest pace in six years in the last three months of 2009, expanding at a 5.7 percent yearly rate over the previous quarter according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

The largest portion of the growth, 3.4 percentage points, came from businesses shrinking inventories more slowly than in the previous quarter to accommodate increased demand. Shrinking inventories means increased production to prepare for future sales increases.

One can argue about how much of the inventory buildup came from one-time events such as government stimulus programs, but one thing is clear. Businesses will have to increase inventories as the economy recovers.

Where will the money come from to fund the inventory growth is a bigger question.

I know very few bank or commercial finance lenders eager to lend for inventory increases. In fact, one middle market commercial banker told me at lunch that inventory increases are the last thing he wants to fund. Don't expect to see improved appetite for inventory lending until cash flow improves.

Some asset based lenders will provide lines of credit when there the borrower is profitable and subject to sublimits tied to accounts receivable. I also know one lender who will lend against inventory only in amounts up to $10 million. The terms are tough and the pricing is not for the faint of heart.

Need help finding the right lender or telling your story the right way for your California business? Read "Matchmaking for Business Loans" and give me a call!

Tags : inventory loan , GDP growth , line of credit , working capital

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