Friday, October 23, 2009
A special purpose entity (SPE) (sometimes, especially in Europe, "special purpose vehicle" or simply SPV) is a legal entity (usually a limited company of some type or, sometimes, a limited partnership) created to fulfill narrow, specific or temporary objectives. SPE's are typically used by companies to isolate the firm from financial risk. A company will transfer assets to the SPE for management or use the SPE to finance a large project thereby achieving a narrow set of goals without putting the entire firm at risk. SPEs are also commonly used in complex financings to separate different layers of equity infusion. In addition, they are commonly used to own a single asset and associated permits and contract rights (such as an apartment building or a power plant), to allow for easier transfer of that asset.