Fnac Darty has won a €100 million loan from the EU to finance its digital transformation initiatives.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending the money to the retailer to support its Confiance+ strategic plan, in which it aims to create an open omnichannel platform.
Under its mandate from the European Commission, the EIB is allowed to fund projects which help achieve the EU’s policy objectives. The bank hopes that the funding will allow the electronics retailer to compete with “non-European pure players”.
Fnac Darty appointed a new head of eCommerce in March 2018 and has been investing in bringing digital capabilities into its stores. In September it agreed to pool digital resources with MediaMarktSaturn, but the latter has since put these plans on hold.
Enrique Martinez, CEO of Fnac Darty, stated: “The implementation of this new financing with the EIB reinforces the Group’s financing structure while allowing it to benefit from attractive conditions.”
Ambroise Fayolle, VP of the European Investment Bank, said the loan would help Fnac Darty both to support internal innovation and help it digitally transform to keep up with global competition.
Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner in charge of economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, said: “This loan will allow for an acceleration of the digital transformation of one of the main French retailers for electronic products. It shows that the European Union is always ready to act to favour growth and job creation in France.”
Fnac Darty’s full year results for 2018 showed revenues up 0.4% to €7.5 billion. The company’s ecommerce activities now represent nearly 19% of group revenues, up from around 17% the previous year. Omnichannel is now responsible for 49% of online orders, up from 47% in 2017.