EOS Matrix in Serbia has shown how to make a virtue of necessity. Faced with the loss of its major line of business, the company entered a new field with the purchase of B2B receivables portfolios.
In 2011, Serbian law forbade non-banks from purchasing receivables. ‘B2C debt purchase was our biggest revenue stream until then,’ says Jelena Jović Milentijević, Managing Director of EOS Matrix. A year later, the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) relaxed the ban and allowed non-banks to purchase B2B receivables. ‘We grabbed this opportunity. We analysed the market and opted to acquire B2B receivables portfolios,’ says Ms Jović Milentijević.
A networking specialist
EOS Matrix’s first portfolio was purchased from the Serbian subsidiary of the Belgian financial services provider, KBC Insurance. ‘KBC was one of the first sellers of a B2B receivables portfolio in Serbia. As a buyer, we also took a pioneering role in the country,’ says the Managing Director. That was just the start: in 2015, EOS Matrix gained three more portfolios consisting of bank debt for small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies.
EOS Matrix used external lawyers, estate agents and business consultants to evaluate portfolios and recover debt. They supported EOS in many areas, such as assessing property, which served as collateral, and reorganising indebted companies to make them financially solvent. ‘B2B debt purchase accounts for 75 per cent of business. We lead the field based on turnover and market share in Serbia,’ says Ms Jović Milentijević.
Conditions for more deals are good. The high number of defaulting debts in Serbia – estimated at 20 per cent by NBS – affects lending and the economy. The national bank wants to counter this trend and develop the market for debt sales, for which EOS Matrix is prepared.