Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a crucial part of Europe's economy, providing two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU. Access to finance is a crucial factor for SMEs, allowing them to fund investment and grow their business. Leasing is particularly suitable for Europe’s SMEs, allowing them to finance up to 100% of the purchase price of an asset (which is not always the case with other forms of finance). This is extremely convenient for SMEs, allowing for better management of their working capital as payments are spread over the life of the asset. Lessors have greater in-built security due to their ownership of the asset, therefore they can often offer better terms than other forms of finance, requiring less or no additional collateral. For smaller companies who have high growth potential, leasing may be the only way to finance their development.
Leasing helps more than 9 million European SMEs achieve their business goals.
Since 2010, Leaseurope, together with Oxford Economics, has been conducting an in-depth research project on leasing to SMEs. We examined to what extent, how and why Europe’s SMEs use leasing compared to other forms of finance. The research found that over 40% of SMEs relied on leasing to fund their business investments. SMEs that use leasing also land up investing more than twice as much as those that do not use leasing.
The European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) regularly publish results of their Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE). Thanks to our cooperation, this survey now distinguishes leasing and hire purchase as a separate category of external finance. Leaseurope makes use of these results to create value added market analysis on leasing to SMEs, ensuring that our industry has up-to-date figures on this key client segment.
This survey shows that leasing is the most used form of long-term finance by SMEs and remains highly accessible for various types of businesses across Europe compared to other forms of finance, with growing demand especially from innovative, exporting and high-growth firms.
Leaseurope, in partnership with Deloitte, published a research paper on Implicit Risk Weights for SME Leasing in Europe, which shows default and loss rates of leasing to SMEs are low and capital requirements regulation overestimates the risks. You can find out more on our webpage here.
Leaseurope worked together with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Investment Fund (EIF) to publish two leaflets on how these institutions support leasing to SMEs through their various funding mechanisms. You can download the EIB leaflet here and the EIF leaflet here.
The European Investment Fund (EIF) has a working paper on The importance of leasing for SME finance which can be found here.