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EIF and Credito Valtellinese Group sign a EUR 100m agreement to support innovative businesses in Italy

    Date: 24 July 2013
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Credito Valtellinese, assisted by Finanziaria Internazionale, have signed a guarantee agreement 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.

This agreement allows Credito Valtellinese to provide innovative companies in Italy with access to a total of up to EUR 100 million of debt finance over the next two years and with support of the 50% guarantee offered by the EIF. This will make it easier for Credito Valtellinese to offer innovative companies additional financing at favourable conditions.

This is the third RSI agreement in Italy and thirteenth in Europe, bringing the total loan finance available to innovative businesses across the EU to above EUR 1bn.

Commenting on the signature, in Italy, EIF Head of Guarantees, Securitisation & Microfinance Alessandro Tappi said: “I am pleased to be signing this RSI agreement in Italy 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 Credito Valtellinese to ensure that much needed finance efficiently to innovation-driven businesses across the country.”

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. Banks are being selected by the EIF following a call for expression of interest for financial intermediaries across Europe.

Miro Fiordi, Managing Director of Credito Valtellinese stated: “The agreement signed with EIF will further support activities for SMEs, helping to meet our Group targets. Given the particularly uncertain framework for companies experiencing difficulties in accessing credit, this agreement represents a tangible support and a strong action intended to strengthen relations between Gruppo Creval and the enterprises.”

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 25 or so banks are expected to be involved in the pilot phase, allowing the RSI to reach up to 2500 beneficiaries with a total loan volume of up to €2.5 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, 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 6.5bn at end 2012. With investments in over 400 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 8bn in close to 250 operations at end 2012, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

About Credito Valtellinese

Credito Valtellinese Group, cooperative banking group, listed at  MTA of Borsa Italiana Spa (London Stock Exchange Group), counts over 150.000 shareholders. The Group operates in eleven Italian regions through more than 540 branches, distributed among its local banks - Credito Valtellinese, Credito Siciliano and Carifano - and approximately 4.400 employees. Parent Company is Credito Valtellinese, established in Sondrio in 1908, following a traditional, cultural and catholic row pursuing from the beginning a business model  deeply involved in the socioeconomic development and enhancement of its traditional reference areas. Consistently with its guiding principles, the banking activity is mainly intended for families, small and medium sized enterprises, artisans and professionals and moreover - as a vocation and tradition - for nonprofit organizations: an intangible wealth constantly expanding and now close to 935.000 relationships.

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