Press Release

New finance provider seeks to acquire
£1billion+ in overdue invoices to help unlock
funding crisis

• First opportunity for businesses to get cash for overdue invoices
• Firm looking for businesses with £50k-£10m of unpaid invoices
• Small Business Commissioner supportive of new option for SMEs

New finance provider Azzurro Associates, is looking to provide cash against at least £1bn of UK businesses’ unpaid invoices to help provide much needed liquidity in the coronavirus crisis.

Azzurro Associates is establishing a unique service to help businesses clear their growing unpaid debts. This is the first time that companies operating in the B2B sector have been able to obtain cash against their overdue debts. They have previously been forced to choose between writing off bad debts, or taking costly and time-consuming legal action themselves.

Azzurro says it is interested in providing cash to UK businesses having unpaid invoices with a total of £50,000 - £10m. In addition to the upfront cash, Azzurro will share collections it achieves on the unpaid invoices with businesses, further improving their return on the unpaid invoices.

The coronavirus lockdown of the economy has seen the problem of unpaid invoices begin to spiral out of control. Many larger businesses are choosing not to pay smaller suppliers in order to preserve their own cash – creating a shock to cashflow that is now rippling across the economy.

Commenting on the launch of Azzurro’s initiative, Philip King, the Interim Small Business Commissioner, says:

“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.”
“As the interim Small Business Commissioner, I’m doing everything I can to make payment prompt and to support small businesses generate the cash flow that is so critical. At times like this, we need creative ideas and I’m delighted to see so many organisations like Azzurro introduce different and innovative solutions.”

While invoice finance providers will fund in-date invoices, only Azzurro provides cash for overdue and written-off invoices that businesses are struggling to collect. This can provide immediate liquidity for businesses struggling with mounting bad debts.

Azzurro says that as the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBIL) scheme takes time to get off the ground, businesses with £50,000 or more of unpaid commercial (B2B) debts could quickly improve their cashflow by obtaining cash through this new service.

Andrew Birkwood, CEO of Azzurro Associates, says: “There has 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.”

“We’re looking to provide a vital source of liquidity for British businesses. Generating immediate cash from bad debts could be the solution for many companies facing a coronavirus cashflow crunch.”

Azzurro adopt a fair and balanced recoveries process, with a creditor’s brand protection being of upmost importance. This is achieved by utilising credit reference agency data to determine the appropriate servicing strategy, allowing forbearance & breathing space where required. Where customers do not engage in the amicable contact strategy, Azzurro use a combination of bureau data and expertise of their servicing panel to ensure the right cases are selected for litigation.

Q & A

Why haven’t I 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 & 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?

Invoice finance providers will only fund new invoices. As a business generates new invoices, it submits them to the invoice financier, who provides funding secured against them. They will specifically avoid invoices that are in arrears. 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. Until now, businesses have not been able to use these overdue invoices to access cash.


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 & 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 & drink, hospitality, security and building supplies.


What age of invoices will Azzurro provide cash for?

Azzurro can purchase invoices up to a maximum of 6 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. These are the only restrictions – Azzurro can provide cash for the vast majority of commercial invoices under six years old.


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 I 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.

I 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.


Are customers treated fairly?

Yes. Azzurro is authorised and regulated by the FCA, and always treats customers fairly. Azzurro undertakes a detailed assessment of customer’s ability to repay their debts, and works with them to agree a sustainable repayment schedule. Azzurro are willing to spread repayments over long time periods in line with affordability. They treat legal action as a ‘last resort’ option if customers fail to engage, and work to avoid that scenario as much as possible. Any complaints/ disputes are handled by our senior management team, who focus on resolving them quickly and sympathetically.

Does Azzurro buy consumer debt?

While Azzurro’s senior team has many years of experience in consumer debt, the firm’s focus is the underserved commercial B2B sector.

How is Azzurro Associates funded?

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


Andrew Birkwood
Founder & CEO
Azzurro Associates