Unpaid Invoices

New finance provider Azzurro Associates to acquire £1bn in overdue invoices



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New finance provider Azzurro Associates is looking to provide cash against at least £1bn of UK businesses’ unpaid invoices.

The lender has established a service to help businesses clear their growing overdue debts to help provide much needed liquidity during the Covid-19 crisis.

Azzurro will give cash to UK businesses with unpaid invoices between £50,000 and £10m.

In addition, the provider will share collections it achieves on the unpaid invoices with businesses, further improving their return.

While invoice finance providers will fund in-date invoices, Azzurro will offer cash for overdue and written-off invoices that businesses are struggling to collect.

Andrew Birkwood, CEO at Azzurro Associates, stated that there had never been a more important time for businesses to be able to extract value from their unpaid debts.

“As coronavirus leads to more businesses failing to pay their suppliers, businesses further up the supply chain need to make sure they don’t run into liquidity problems.

“Faced with months of costly legal action to achieve payment of an invoice, most businesses simply accept bad debts and write them off — there is now a better option.

“Generating immediate cash from bad debts could be the solution for many companies facing a coronavirus cashflow crunch.”

Commenting on the launch of Azzurro’s initiative, Philip King, interim small business commissioner, said: “The whole global business community needs to pull together to fight Covid-19, and not damage the supply chain by delaying or refusing payment to small suppliers.

“It is very difficult for small businesses in the current climate, and yet they are central to our economy.

“At times like this, we need creative ideas and I’m delighted to see so many organisations, like Azzurro, introduce different and innovative solutions.”

Azzurro states that it adopts a fair and balanced recoveries process, achieved by utilising credit reference agency data to determine the appropriate servicing strategy, allowing forbearance and breathing space where required.

Q&A with Azzuro Associates: What else do I need to know?

Why haven’t we heard of this service before?


Azzurro’s delinquent invoice finance product is a new and unique offering. After long careers in consumer debt purchase, Azzurro’s founders have used their experience and industry network to develop a new service for the commercial debt industry. Azzurro is aiming to change the way small- and medium-sized businesses manage their delinquent invoices through an intelligent use of credit data, fair customer treatment and partnerships with high-quality servicers, such as FCA authorised law firms.

How is Azzurro’s service different from invoice finance?

Azzurro is seeking to provide cash for overdue invoices — those that may have been outstanding for a long period, where the business has not been able to collect payment.

Why hasn’t this service been tried before?

Collecting unpaid invoices from businesses can be challenging and costly — there is not a well-established ‘pathway’ for commercial debt collection as there is for consumer debt. The experience and relationships of the senior team at Azzurro Associates, both in consumer and commercial debt, has allowed them to develop a high-volume, scalable, and fair and ethical method for collecting commercial debt.

What sectors is Azzurro targeting?


Azzurro is keen to acquire overdue B2B invoices from any sector, but believes there is particular demand from sectors such as logistics, media, food and drink, hospitality, security and building supplies.

What age of invoices will Azzurro provide cash for?


Azzurro can purchase invoices up to a maximum of six years from the due date, provided evidence exists to substantiate them, such as contracts or other agreements. Very few businesses realise that these aged unpaid invoices could be converted into cash today.

What invoices won’t Azzurro provide cash for?


Azzurro is unable to provide cash for invoices where the customer is insolvent, deceased, or where the invoice is subject to a complaint or dispute, such as over the quality of the product/service supplied.

What cash do businesses receive upfront?


The cash that businesses get upfront will be a percentage of the value of the invoice, with more to follow upon successful collection. The price range is usually between 5-30% of the invoice value, and will vary depending on factors such as the age of the invoices and the credit quality of the customers. A recent invoice to a large, well-established business is likely to pay a higher percentage than a very old one to a small business. However, Azzurro is also able to share a proportion of the collections it achieves with the business, increasing the cash recovery from these aged debts.

How does Azzurro share collections?

Once Azzurro has recovered its purchase price for the overdue invoices, it will share an agreed percentage of all further recoveries with businesses. This can be as high as 50% of the value of the invoice. This share of successful recoveries is remitted to businesses on a monthly basis.

Do businesses have to repay the upfront cash payment, if Azzurro recovers less than anticipated?

No. Upfront cash is not required to be repaid in the event that Azzurro is not able to recover their upfront payment from collections.

What if businesses have lots of small invoices? Is that a problem?

No — provided the smallest invoice value is greater than £500. Azzurro’s system is scalable and the firm is keen to provide cash for as many invoices as possible.

How is Azzurro Associates funded?

Azzurro Associates is backed by a global investment fund, which gives it the capacity to acquire over £1bn of overdue invoices.

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