Letter Of Comfort

What is a 'Letter Of Comfort'

A letter of comfort is a letter issued to a lending institution by a parent company acknowledging support of a subsidiary company's attempt for financing. A letter of comfort does not imply that the parent company guarantees repayment of the loan being sought by the subsidiary company. It merely gives reassurance to the lending institution that the parent company is aware of the credit facility being sought by the subsidiary company, and supports its decision.

BREAKING DOWN 'Letter Of Comfort'

A letter of comfort is typically couched in vague wording, in order to prevent the parent company from being saddled with a legally enforceable obligation. As such, a letter of comfort creates a moral obligation for the parent company rather than a legal one. Companies generally do not furnish letters of comfort unless absolutely necessary. This is because in the worst-case scenario, where the subsidiary is unable to repay the debt, the parent company may either be on the hook for the full amount if the letter of comfort was poorly worded, or may have to incur expensive legal fees to prove that its letter of comfort was not a tacit guarantee of its subsidiary's loan.