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RSI guarantee agreement for innovative businesses signed in Portugal

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    Date: 27 November 2013
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banco Espírito Santo have signed a guarantee agreement to support lending to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under an initiative funded by the European Commission.

The new agreement signed under the Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI) initiative allows Banco Espírito Santo to provide innovative companies in Portugal with access to a total of EUR 160m of debt financing over the next two years with support of the 50% guarantee offered by the EIF. This enables Banco Espírito Santo to offer innovative companies additional financing at favourable conditions.

This is the second RSI agreement in Portugal and the 21st in Europe so far, bringing the total loan finance available to innovative businesses across the EU under this initiative to well above EUR 2.0bn. The agreement signed today will help the bank to finance innovative businesses across the country.

Commenting on the signature in Lisbon, EIF Chief Executive, Richard Pelly said: “I am pleased to be signing the largest Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI) agreement in Europe, under a FP7 programme in support of innovative small and medium sized enterprises with Banco Espírito Santo. I am confident that Banco Espírito Santo, will ensure that much needed finance will be quickly channelled to a number of innovation driven businesses across the country.”

Amilcar Morais Pires, CFO & Executive Member of the Board of Directors of Banco Espírito Santo said: “This Risk Sharing Instrument is of particular importance for BES, allowing us to maintain our support to the small and medium sized enterprises, with particular emphasis on the ones that are investing in innovation and research and development, thereby continuing the strategy that BES has been following of supporting the Portuguese Corporates

With this facility, which adds up to the €8,75 Mln Micro-Finance Agreement signed between BES and the EIF last April, BES is now the leading Portuguese Financial Institution supporting the Portuguese Economy through EIF instruments”.

The aim of the RSI Facility is to encourage banks to lend to SMEs and small mid-caps with fewer than 500 employees in need of investment financing and/or operating capital to support research, development and innovation activities, with EU financial support. Banks are being selected by the EIF following a call for expression of interest for financial intermediaries across Europe.

About Risk-Sharing Instrument (RSI) under FP7

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 micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance.  EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance 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. EIF’s total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 6.9bn at end 2012. With investments in over 435 funds, 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. EIF’s guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 4.7bn in close to 255 operations at end 2012, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

About Banco Espírito Santo

Banco Espírito Santo, S.A. is the largest listed domestic bank by market cap and the 2nd largest private financial institution in Portugal by net assets, with average market share of 19.6% in the domestic market and providing universal banking services in Portugal, with special focus on corporate and their internationalization process. With an international presence in 25 countries across 4 continents, through Branches, Representative Offices and Subsidiaries, Banco Espírito Santo is the most international financial Group in Portugal. In the first half of 2013 BES was responsible for providing more than EUR 37,6 bn in loans to Corporates.  

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