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First RSI guarantee agreement in the Netherlands for innovative and high-growth businesses

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    Date: 26 November 2012

AbnAmro

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and ABN AMRO today have signed the first guarantee agreement in the Netherlands 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, ABN AMRO can now offer up to EUR 120 million of new loans to innovative and high-growth companies over the next two years, enabling entrepreneurs to gain easier access to finance.

ABN AMRO is the first bank in The Netherlands to offer Risk Sharing Instrument -backed loans to businesses under the name of ‘ABN AMRO Groei & Innovatielening’. 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 from financial intermediaries.

Speaking at the signature ceremony in Amsterdam, EIB Vice President, Pim Van Ballekom said: “I am delighted to be signing our first agreement in the Netherlands under the new Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI) in support of innovative small and medium sized enterprises. After signing two agreements in Austria and the Czech Republic, this is the 3rd agreement in Europe and demonstrates that this new facility is attracting high demand and further agreements are expected to be signed across Europe in the coming months.

Through the provision of a 50% guarantee, EIF will be assisting ABN AMRO to channel much needed finance efficiently to high tech innovative businesses in Holland.”

Joop Wijn, managing Board ABN AMRO, responsible for Commercial and Merchant Banking: “We are proud to be selected by the EIF as the first intermediary in the Netherlands. Taking into account that according to the Dutch Bureau of Statistics nearly 50% of the SME companies in the Netherlands are innovative, I ‘m convinced that through our RSI backed instrument, ‘ABN AMRO Groei & Innovatielening’, we are better able to help a vast part of the Dutch SME businesses, in financing their businesses. I would to thank the EIF for relying on ABN AMRO as a partner in providing this facility in the Netherlands.

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.

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:

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