The message from Paul Lester, chief executive, was stark: “If you get into financial difficulties, don’t delay but come and talk to us. You are probably better talking to us than banks, because banks aren’t really doing their jobs right now and we can help.”
Possibilities for help include paying suppliers in cash earlier, giving them longer orders or even lending them workers, says Mr Lester. At Safran, Mr Dessemond says his company could put capital into its suppliers, help them obtain aid from government agencies or change payment terms – but all only in “exceptional cases”.
The usual issues banking problems of checking amidst informational asymmetries, monitoring and compliance will arise. Partnerships are possible. At some point it becomes better to take control of the whole company.