URGENT 2020 Task Force

Please read our interview with Jens Moller from Cigno – Denmark, responsible for creating the URGENT 2020 Task Force, with twelve experts from several countries.

Could you share with us how this idea of creating an international Task Force came along?

The idea of creating the URGENT 2020 task force as an international initiative was founded at the very beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Even before, governments in many countries decided to design help packages for the businesses in their countries.

We knew that despite the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was still a lot of capital available in the market and the interest was still zero or below, therefore concluding that someone would still like to acquire for consolidating, etc. and that someone would have to sell due to the negative impact of Covid-19 on earnings.

As we are used to working together in Industry Groups, for MAWW, creating the URGENT2020 Task Force was incredibly obvious and necessary.

Six months after the pandemic emerged around the world, which industries and sectors have searched for your Task Force and Services the most?

After the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can conclude that the help packages from the governments of the individual countries have aided, or at least pushed the financial challenge for a period. We expected the big financing challenge from closing down countries, and productions did not have the predicted repercussions due to the help packages. The banks have been extending credit facilities for many companies. We now begin to see the second financial wave of the Covid-19 impact. Here, on the doorstep of Q4, companies’ extended credit lines on TAX, VAT, etc. have expired, and the order books are empty because Covid-19 has affected almost all supply chains and shipping possibilities Worldwide.

Therefore, we foresee that the URGENT2020 Task Force may not have affected now as expected due to the governments’ help packages in each country. Still, we expect that many companies globally will have difficulties in Q4 and Q1 of 2021. There is still a lot of capital in the market, ready to invest and consolidate the Industries and Sectors. Therefore we expect good activities in the coming period.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have mostly seen smaller companies in dire circumstances where a quick reaction was needed, which normally calls for a national solution, such as Asset deals, etc. The larger companies have mostly handled the situation by debt restructuring or capital raise from the market.

Several sectors such as travel, leisure, etc. have been so badly wounded that a total restructuring of sectors might be needed after the pandemic.

Do you have several companies that you and your task force has helped since the beginning of this project that you can share with us?

As the help packages have only been in full effect until now in Denmark, we have only had a few companies asking for URGENT2020 Task Force services. Currently, we have one smaller project, which is so specific that we, due to size, timeframe, and competitors, went directly into a dialogue with our colleague JP Weber in Poland.

We have not received concrete projects from other task force members, but we expect to begin seeing more activity shortly. To stimulate that, we will increase the activities in the coming period.

Can you identify the common areas that usually companies do need help?

Since the pandemic started, companies need help with debt advisory services and fundraising. And on the other hand, the companies are asking for more strategic advisory services and how to consolidate Sectors, etc.

Did you assist potential companies that were totally failing with this situation? Can you give an example?

We expect to close a smaller Slurry Tanker project next week.