Safe Harbour Scheme seeks to secure automotive supply chain

Published:  29 September, 2020

The SMMT has today (Tuesday 29 September) launched a new scheme that allows multiple parts companies to come together to support critical suppliers without falling foul of anti-competition rules, which is a first for the UK sector,

The SMMT’s Safe Harbour Scheme  is designed to prevent insolvencies and help save jobs across the UK automotive industry, including its supply chain. It seeks to provide a legally compliant structure through which collaborative solutions can be found to support companies at risk and the entire production supply chain safeguarded.

The scheme, which is supported by the Automotive Council and the government, provides a mechanism for automotive businesses to engage with their customers, lenders, creditors and other stakeholders to find ways to minimise the risk of going bust.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “With the UK automotive sector badly hit by the Coronavirus crisis, thousands of jobs already lost and barely weeks left until a fundamental change of trading conditions with our largest market, the EU, the pressures on automotive businesses are immense. Inevitably, these pressures are going to take their toll on businesses, so the Safe Harbour Scheme has been created to help any suppliers in trouble. It should provide valuable breathing space as the sector restarts and business and consumer confidence recovers. Ultimately, however, the industry must maintain its competitiveness to grow and for that we still look to the government to deliver an ambitious trade deal with the EU.”

The Safe Harbour process begins with a confidential conversation between a company experiencing difficulties and SMMT to determine if they want to proceed, and there is no obligation to do so. For businesses deciding to enter Safe Harbour, SMMT facilitates engagement with all relevant stakeholders and an Independent Third Party (ITP) to identify and implement measures to ensure business continuity. These need agreement from all parties and could include steps such as temporary improved payment terms and/or financial support or a new partnership or investment opportunities.

The Safe Harbour Scheme and framework has been developed by SMMT with support from major manufacturers, the Automotive Council and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), alongside ITP partners Deloitte, Grant Thornton, KPMG and RSM. The scheme operates within competition compliance requirements set out in UK and EU regulations. It is available to any company operating in the UK automotive sector.

Companies interested in taking part in Safe Harbour can find out more and enquire in strict confidence at: www.smmt.co.uk/member-services/safe-harbour/

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