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First RSI guarantee agreement in the Czech Republic for innovative businesses

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    Date: 08 November 2012

eif logoČeská spořitelna logo

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Ceska Sporitelna have today signed the first guarantee agreement in Prague, to support lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under the Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI), a joint initiative of the European Investment Bank Group and the European Commission. Thanks to the agreement, Ceska Sporitelna can now offer up to EUR 90 million of new loans to innovative companies over the next two years, enabling entrepreneurs to gain easier access to finance.

 Ceska Sporitelna is the first bank in the Czech Republic to offer Risk Sharing Instrument - backed loans to innovative businesses primarily in the manufacturing and energy sectors. The facility aims to encourage banks to provide loans of between €25,000 and €7.5 million to SMEs and small mid-caps undertaking research, development or innovation, and seeking finance for investments and/or working capital. Banks are being selected by the EIF following a call for expressions of interest for financial intermediaries.

Speaking at the signature ceremony in the Czech Republic, EIF Chief Executive Richard Pelly said: “I am pleased to be signing our first agreement in the Czech Republic under the new Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI) in support of innovative small and medium sized enterprises. Through the provision of a 50% guarantee, EIF will be helping Ceska Sporitelna – one of the largest banks in the country, to channel much needed finance efficiently to high tech innovative businesses.”

Daniel Heler, the member of CS Board responsible for Erste Corporate Banking and Deputy CEO of Ceska Sporitelna commented: “This year, Ceska Sporitelna introduced the TOP Innovation programme, focused on financing innovative projects. The EIF guarantee will make the programme even more attractive for our clients. The main advantage of this updated programme is the greater accessibility of loans, due to the high-quality guarantee from EIF and much more advantageous interest rates. We believe that Czech companies that invest into their development and innovation will benefit from this cooperation of CS and EIF. At the same time, the cooperation will contribute to the development of the overall Czech economy and exports. Thanks to the support of EIF and extremely low interest rates, these short and medium-term loans will be available to all current and future clients of Erste Corporate Banking in all our regional corporate centres.”

The Risk-Sharing Instrument (RSI)

RSI is a pilot guarantee scheme which supports the financing of R&D and/or innovation driven SMEs and Small Mid-Caps. The RSI is a joint initiative of the EIF, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission. It is supported by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) and uses EIF's risk-taking capacity. It is part of, and complements, the existing Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF), managed by the EIB.

Under this facility, the European Investment Fund (EIF) is, in return for a fee, providing guarantees to banks and leasing companies that lend to SMEs and Small Mid-Caps. The guarantee covers, upon default, 50% of the outstanding amount of each loan. Some 10 or so banks are expected to be involved in the pilot phase, allowing the RSI to reach up to 1000 beneficiaries with a total loan volume of up to €1.0 billion.

The call is open to financial or credit institutions, established and operating in the EU and/or countries associated to FP7, including, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, Switzerland, Israel, Turkey, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Faroe Islands and Moldova.

About the EIF

EIF's central mission is to support Europe's small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture capital and guarantees instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. The EIF total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 6bn at end 2011. With investments in over 370 funds, the EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. The EIF guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 4.4bn in close to 220 operations at end 2011, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

About Ceska Sporitelna

Ceska Sporitelna is a modern bank focused on retail clients, small and medium-sized enterprises, and towns and municipalities. The financing of large corporations and the provision of financial market services also play an integral role. Ceska Sporitelna, whose history reaches back to 1825, is a member of Erste Group, one of the largest providers of financial services in Central and Eastern Europe. In the Czech Republic, it has the greatest number of clients and the most extensive network of branches and ATMs of all of the banks. With its 12 subsidiaries, it covers the entire range of client needs in banking and related financial services. As at 30 June 2012, Ceska Sporitelna’s total assets were CZK 914.99 bn and its cost/income ratio was 41.9 %. Read more about Ceska Sporitelna 

Erste Group

Erste Group is the leading financial services provider in Central and Eastern Europe. More than 50,000 employees serve around 17 million clients in 3,000 branches in 8 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine). As of 30 June 2012 Erste Group has reached EUR 215.2 billion in total assets, an operating result of EUR 1,751.3 million and a cost-income-ratio of 51.9 %. Read more about Erste Group

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