What is the National Reconstruction Fund?
The National Reconstruction Fund is a grant opportunity that aims to boost investment in manufacturing, create jobs, grow local capacity and rebuild Australia’s industrial base.
The National Reconstruction Fund is the first step in Labor’s plan to rebuild Australia’s industrial base. It provides a crucial financing vehicle to specifically drive investment in projects that will build prosperity across the country, broadening our industrial base and boosting regional economic development.
The National Reconstruction Fund would concentrate on a range of strategic industries. These would include resources value adding; food and beverage processing; transport; medical science; renewables and low emission technologies; defence capability, and enabling capabilities across engineering, data science and software development.
The main reasons for the funding are:
- Security – businesses find it difficult to obtain finance other than on a secured basis – typically, against real estate.
- Additional Funding – small businesses that have already obtained finance secured against real estate, but wish to continue to grow, also find it difficult to access additional funding.
- Funding Costs – even when small businesses can access finance, funding costs are higher than they need to be
- Control – Many small businesses find it difficult to attract passive equity investment which enables them to grow without taking on additional debt or giving up control of their business.
The National Reconstruction Fund has the objectives to increase the availability of patient equity capital for local SMEs, to increase the level of investment in these companies, facilitate interstate and overseas trade and commerce, and support job creation and economic growth as part of the COVID-19 recovery.
The $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund is expected to provide loans, guarantees and equity to support projects that create secure well-paid jobs, drive regional development, and invest in capability, broadening and diversifying Australia’s economy.
The National Reconstruction Fund is expected to follow similar international precedents.
By way of example, since its establishment in 2011, the United Kingdom’s Business Growth Fund has invested some $2.7 billion in a range of sectors across the economy.
A similar fund has not emerged in Australia, in part, as a result of the unfavourable treatment of equity for regulatory capital purposes.
While the exact detail has not been announced, Bulletpoint has provided an indication below.
The National Reconstruction Fund views investments as partnerships. As a minority equity investor, the teams that this funidng invests in and the relationships they build with them are fundamental to the fund’s collective success.
When the fund invests, they take a long-term view and treat the relationship seriously from day one. The National Reconstruction Fund are diligent and methodical, but strive to be pragmatic and collaborative to keep companies focused on their operations.
Australian businesses will be eligible to apply for long-term equity capital investments between $5 million and $15 million, where they have generated annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million and can demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability, allowing for the impact of COVID-19 on recent business performance.
Established Australian businesses will be eligible for long-term equity capital investments of between $5 million and $15 million, where they have generated annual revenue between $10 million and $100 million and can demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability.
The National Reconstruction Fund’s investment stake will be between 10 and 40 per cent, allowing small-business owners to maintain control while also allowing the National Reconstruction Fund to offer the kind of financial support to drive business growth. The National Reconstruction Fund also proposes to offer non-financial support, for example, through the provision of strategic advice, mentoring, talent management and network referrals for small and medium businesses to access.
The National Reconstruction Fund targets growing companies across industries based on the following criteria:
- Revenue – $10 to $100 Million
- Equity – 10% to 40%
- Management – Entrepreneurial focus
- Investment – $5 to $15 Million
- Location – Based in Australia
- Growth – Significant expansion opportunity
- Leverage – Less than 50%
- Business type – Post start-ups and proven business models
The benefits of the National Reconstruction Fund are:
- Structure – the fund structure allows them to take a long-term and patient approach with their investments. They can provide follow-on capital as needed and seek to exit at the right time for all shareholders.
- Control – the fund focuses exclusively on minority positions, and their approach provides entrepreneurs with a collaborative, value-added partner – not a controlling shareholder.
- Network – With support from Australia’s leading financial institutions, The fund offers access to a powerful knowledge network, mentorship from our talent network, and a unique opportunity to collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs within the fund’s portfolio.
- Responsiveness – The investment team moves quickly to provide a clear indication of their interest in pursuing a potential investment. Their term sheets provide clarity on value, terms, and timing.
Applications are expected to open shortly.
23 June 2022 – Billions of dollars of government grants to be scrutinised
An overhaul of industry grants will pave the way for a federal cabinet decision to set up a $15 billion fund within weeks. The National Reconstruction Fund will create an independent chair and board with a mission to support industry projects. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese went to the election with a promise to voters to expand the manufacturing sector.
The plan is raising questions about the fate of federal grants promised by the former government. Industry Minister Ed Husic named the scandals over previous Coalition programs as one reason he asked his department to review the recent promises. The review does not have a target to save money and savings, if they occur, are not meant for the National Reconstruction Fund.
A cabinet decision will be the first major industry policy to be decided by the new government. It will be crucial to shaping the amount of money available for new projects and the terms on which the investments will be made. The goal is to establish the National Reconstruction Fund with Commonwealth debt and invest this money in manufacturing and industry.
10 June 2022 – Coalition flags challenge to Labor’s $45b innovation and energy plan
The Coalition will mount a challenge to Labor’s plan to pump billions into the technology and manufacturing sectors and in rebuilding the energy grid. The so called ‘off-budget’ spending should be dropped because of rising inflation and interest rates, says the shadow treasurer. But Labor insists it will deliver on its election commitments.
Former energy minister Paul Littleproud says Labor’s ‘off budget’ spending poses a risk to Australia’s AAA credit rating. The figure is likely referring to the party’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund and its $20 billion rewiring the nation corporation, and $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund. The challenge suggests the Coalition will look to block funding for a new government-owned corporation and a $15 billion reconstruction fund. Labor’s plan includes a $20 billion investment to rebuild Australia’s power grid.