Chanel among foreign firms sharing £2.8billion of British cash loans

Foreign-based firms including French fashion giant Chanel share £2.8billion of British taxpayers money in emergency loans from the Bank of England

  • The Paris-based doyen of fashionistas has been given £600million by Bank
  • It is owned by billionaire brothers Alain and Gérard Wertheimer
  • German chemicals giant BASF was the largest foreign recipient, getting £1billion
  • Tottenham Hotspur got £175million despite being owned by wealthy tax exile
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

French fashion giant Chanel is among foreign firms sharing £2.8billion of British taxpayers money in emergency loans, despite being owns by billionaires.

The Paris-based doyen of fashionistas has been given £600million in Bank of England loans despite being owned by brothers Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, who have personal wealth estimated at £30billion. 

German chemicals giant BASF was the largest foreign recipient, receiving £1billion, which equates to £1.2million for each of its 834 employees in the UK.

There was also £600million for Bayer AG, the German pharmaceuticals giant.

They are among 53 firms which have benefitted from the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, which the BoE set up to help large firms.

In total around £2.8 billion has gone to firms with headquarters based overseas, including the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland.

And Tottenham Hotspur, the north London football club, received  £175million despite being owned by a billionaire tax exile, Joe Lewis, who lives in the Bahamas. 

Chanel, which employs Lily-Rose Depp (above) as its main model, has been given £600million in Bank of England loans despite being owned by billionaires Alain and Gérard Wertheimer

Tottenham Hotspur, the north London football club, received £175million despite being owned by a billionaire tax exile, Joe Lewis, who lives in the Bahamas

The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) was set up to help large businesses with credit scores through the pandemic.

It complements three other loan support schemes set up for smaller businesses, where the money is provided by high street lenders and guaranteed by the Government.

Even before the Bank of England published its list last night, Dame Margaret Hodge, a Labour MP and former chair of the Public Accounts Committee, had called on the Government to publish more extensive data on its loan schemes.

She also said the Government should not lend to companies who might not be paying their fair share of tax.

‘While for many these schemes will be a financial lifeline, for unscrupulous corporations they will be viewed as easy pickings,’ she wrote in a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak. 

Several high street names took out cash, including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Greggs and Fuller’s – with stores, bars and restaurants remaining closed in most cases.

Online fashion giant Asos, which has remained open throughout the lockdown, took a £100 million, several weeks after it was revealed bosses had asked shareholders for £247 million in a fundraiser.

Fashion house Burberry also turned to taxpayer-backed loans worth £300million.

Almost £2 billion in emergency coronavirus loans has been promised to some of the UK’s biggest airlines. 

The Bank announced it has agreed funding packages worth hundreds of millions of pounds with aviation industry giants including Ryanair, British Airways, Wizz Air and easyJet. 

The cash will help to keep the firms afloat after the current crisis forced them to ground the overwhelming majority of their planes.  

Ryanair and easyJet have both been awarded loans worth £600 million each. 

Meanwhile, the owner of British Airways, IAG, and Wizz Air will both be able to access some £300 million. 

The aviation industry is hoping for a turnaround in fortunes in the coming months after a sustained period of major disruption. 

International travel bans have wreaked havoc with routes but airlines are now targeting the return of more services as restrictions are eased across the globe. 

However, they remain locked in a battle with the UK Government over quarantine plans which will see all travellers arriving in Britain told to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The measures, due to come into force on June 8, will see rule-breakers hit with potentially unlimited fines. 

The aviation and tourism sectors, as well as a growing number of MPs, are calling on ministers to rethink the proposals amid fears they will torpedo any hopes of an economic recovery. 

British Airways is one of a handful of UK aviation firms to have agreed to loans with the Bank of England

As well as the major airlines, the list of firms given the green light to borrow from the Bank of England includes defence company Chemring and paint giant Akzo Nobel.

The biggest single loan, £1 billion, has gone to German company BASF – the world’s largest chemicals producer.

Some of the awards are likely to prompt protests from climate change campaigners. 

Environmental group ClientEarth yesterday called on the Government not to back loans to companies without first putting in place emissions criteria.

ClientEarth chief executive James Thornton said: ‘It appears the peak of the virus has passed for now, but we simply cannot put on hold our response to climate change while we deal with the pandemic.

‘On the contrary, the recovery allows the Government to kick-start the UK’s economy in a way which ensures long-term resilience and a more fair and just transition to a net zero economy.’

Which firms have received money from the  Covid Corporate Financing Facility?

Many of the firms on the list released by the Bank of England are either based abroad or are the UK arm of companies based abroad. Below we list the headquarters country of the firm or its parent organisation. Where a country is not shown the firm is based in the UK.

The full list of 53 borrowers:

BASF SE (Germany) – £1 billion

Baker Hughes UK Funding Company PLC (United States) – £600 million

Bayer AG (Germany)  – £600 million

Chanel Limited (France) – £600 million

CNH Industrial NV (Netherlands/Italy) – £600 million

Compass Group PLC – £600 million

easyJet PLC – £600 million

Intercontinental Hotels Group – £600 million

JCB Service – £600 million

Nissan Motor Co Ltd (Japan) – £600 million

Rentokil Initial plc – £600 million

Ryanair DAC (Ireland) – £600 million

Westfield UK & Europe Financial Plc – £600 million

ABB Finance BV (Netherlands) – £400 million

Brake Bros Limited – £400 million

Johnson Controls International plc (Ireland) – £370 million

Toyota Financial Services (UK) plc (Japan) – £365 million

Amcor UK Finance plc – £360 million

Bourne Leisure Limited – £300 million

British Airways PLC (International Airways Group PLC) – £300 million

Burberry Limited – £300 million

FirstGroup plc – £300 million

G4S International Finance Plc – £300 million

John Lewis Plc – £300 million

Lendlease Europe Finance Plc – £300 million

London & Quadrant Housing Trust – £300 million


Mitsubishi Corporation Finance PLC (Japan) – £300 million

National Express Group PLC – £300 million

Rolls-Royce plc – £300 million

Stagecoach Group PLC – £300 million

Wizz Air (Hungary) – £300 million

Marks and Spencer plc – £260 million

Telefonica Europe BV (Spain) – £200 million

Vesuvius plc – £200 million

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Limited – £175 million

PACCAR Financial PLC – £170 million

Greggs plc – £150 million

OPTIVO – £150 million

Schlumberger Plc (United States) – £150 million

ASOS plc – £100 million

Fuller Smith & Turner Plc – £100 million

Inchcape Plc – £100 million

Polypipe Group Plc – £100 million

Honda Finance Europe PLC (Japan) – £75 million

Meggitt PLC – £60 million

Chemring Group plc – £50 million

SSP Financing Ltd – £50 million

Akzo Nobel NV (Netherlands) – £30 million

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty – £30 million

The Vitec Group plc – £30 million

Young & Co’s Brewery, PLC – £30 million

Carnival plc (United States) – £25 million

Alliance Automotive Investment Limited – £20 million

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