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EIF - European Investment Fund

10/03/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2019 10:08

SME Initiative: EIB Group substantially expands its support to Romanian businesses, thanks to EU funds

  • Romanian companies receive up to EUR 1.38bn under SME Initiative (SMEi)
  • Increased financing volumes for five Romanian banks and transactions with two new banks to improve access of Romanian SMEs to finance at advantageous terms
  • More than 5,000 companies are expected to benefit

In light of the successful implementation of the SME Initiative Romania, the Romanian Authorities have allocated additional EUR 150m from Regional Operational Programe, co-financed through ERFD, bringing the total ESIF budget under the programme to up to EUR 250m. This increase, together with additional resources from the EIB Group and the European Commission, will result in a total amount of financing to Romanian SMEs available under SMEi Romania of up to EUR 1.38bn.

In this framework, new deals and amendments to the existing agreements with Romanian financial intermediaries for increased volumes were signed. These transactions with CEC Bank, Banca Comerciala Romana, BRD - Groupe Societe Generale, Libra Internet Bank, ProCredit Bank, Raiffeisen Bank and Unicredit Bank, and the existing transactions with Banca Transilvania and ING Bank Romania, are expected to benefit around 5,000 SMEs and start-ups in need of finance. The agreements with the financial institutions mentioned aim to facilitate access to finance for Romanian SMEs by providing a 60% guarantee on each loan and by lowering the interest rates charged by banks.

EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell commented: 'The SME Initiative is combining structural funds with other EU and EIB resources to make loans available to 5,000 Romanian SMEs on better terms, helping to create badly needed jobs in the private sector. This has already worked really well in the last year, which is why we are now more than doubling the size of the initiative.'

Eugen Teodorovici, Minister of Public Finance and EIB Governor for Romania, stated: 'Romania is among the few EU Member States that are implementing this initiative and we have duly turned it into a hallmark programme for our SMEs. More than 2,000 Romanian SMEs have benefited from this initiative, with almost EUR 500m committed in their support. Together with our partners, we aim to further build on this initiative in our drive to make SMEs the backbone of our economy.'

Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration, Daniel Suciu, said: 'With almost 2,000 Romanian small and medium-sized enterprises already benefiting from the SME Initiative, the top-up approved last year will further enable other SMEs to access loans at reduced interest rates and with lower collaterals, in order to boost their economic competitiveness. Besides an innovative use of European Structural and Investment Funds, more private capital will be attracted into the SME space as new financing markets and ecosystems are targeted through the increased resources available in Romania.'

Commenting on the programme increase, EIF Director Hubert Cottogni said: 'Combining ESIF funds with EIB Group and EU resources is a great way to achieve more with less. It allows the EIF to take on part of the risk of financial intermediaries for the ultimate benefit of Romanian SMEs. The additional ESIF resources made available by Romania, leveraged with commercial lending, will generate up to EUR1.38bn worth of new loans for SMEs across Romania.'

Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy, Enlargement Negotiations and Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: 'The SME Initiative is a perfect example of how Cohesion Policy funding used in an innovative way can multiply its effects on the ground. Romania was among the first Member States to join the SME Initiative and this has paid off. Thanks to the additional resources from the European Regional Development Fund, more and more SMEs and start-ups will be able to seize this opportunity and continue creating jobs, growth and prosperity for the country and its people.'

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union's bank. It is the long-term lending institution of the EU and is the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investments in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The EIB works closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy. As the world's largest multilateral borrower and lender by volume, the EIB provides finance and expertise for sound and sustainable investment projects which contribute to furthering EU policy objectives. More than 90% of EIB activity is focused on Europe but the Bank also supports the EU's external and development policies.

The European Investment Fund is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments, which specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

The SME Initiativein Romania, established in October 2016, is part of a broader initiative of the European Commission and the EIB Group that benefits from funding by the European Union under ERDF and Horizon 2020.It aims to encourage Member States to double their use of ESI Funds invested through financial instruments in 2014-2020 and boost the competiveness of Romania's micro, small and medium-sized businesses through increased access to finance. It was designed as a fast and effective response instrument to increase lending to the real economy, create jobs and stimulate growth.

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union

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