Luxembourg’s national credit and investment corporation, SNCI, allocated €60m in loans in 2018, according to the government.
In an exchange of views with the finance and budget committee on Monday, SNCI president Patrick Nickels described the figure as “modest”, explaining that part of the reason it was so low was because the Luxembourg financial sector was doing well and bank interest rates were favourable.
He said that currently, commercial banks have so much liquidity that they prefer to invest in projects on their own and that the SNCI is not often asked to participate in projects.
One of its missions is to complement the financial sector and support it in the event of a default. But, for the time being, the financial sector is able to cover market failures.
MPs quizzed Nickels over the decision to invest in American asteroid mining company Planetary Resources. In total, €12m was transferred in a direct capital investment and €13m given in grants. Last year Planetary Resource suffered financial difficulties and was acquired by blockchain venture production studio ConsenSys Inc. Luxembourg is thought to have sold its stake for a symbolic price.
The banking institution had created Saam, a limited liability company, through which to transfer the investment. Nickels explained this was for practical and legal reasons. MPs called for greater transparency over the legal framework of its activities.
The Luxembourg State invests in a handful of companies in the grand duchy as part of its long-term strategy for the country. In 2018, its returns on shares and investments reached €191.7 million.