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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and CIBANK sign first agreement in Bulgaria for SMEs

    Date: 02 October 2015

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and CIBANK have signed the first COSME agreement in Bulgaria, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) through which the Investment Plan for Europe is being deployed by the European Commission and the EIB Group.

The agreement will allow CIBANK to provide BGN 200 million (around EUR 100 million) of loans to SMEs in Bulgaria over the next three years. The loans will be provided as a result of a guarantee from EIF under the COSME programme with financial backing from the European Commission. The agreement will make it possible for CIBANK to support additional financing at favourable conditions to over 1,000 SMEs.

European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for Budget and Human Resources, said: “This is fantastic news for Bulgarian businesses and the Bulgarian economy. In a very difficult economic environment we need as much investment as possible. That is why we're using the EU budget to back BGN 200 million of lending to SMEs. I encourage companies to take advantage of these loans.”

Commenting on the signature at the event in Sofia, EIF’s Head of Guarantees, Securitisation and Microfinance, Alessandro Tappi said: “I am pleased to be signing the first EFSI SME guarantee agreement in Bulgaria under the COSME programme. Working with CIBANK, EFSI will allow us to increase our support for companies and help entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses. CIBANK’s support for Bulgarian SMEs in need of finance, with the help of EFSI will enable entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create jobs”.

"We consider the signing of the COSME guarantee agreement between EIF and CIBANK as a further development of the successful partnership between the two institutions thus  providing  an opportunity to hundreds of small and medium enterprises to realize their great business ideas at preferential terms  of financing," Peter Andronov, CEO of CIBANK, commented at the signing of the agreement and added that the businesses in Bulgaria have found a stable and trustworthy partner in the face of EIF. 

This is one of the first COSME transactions in Europe signed thanks to EFSI support. The deal reflects the EIB Group’s commitment to respond swiftly to calls from Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament for a rapid launch of concrete initiatives under EFSI, accelerating lending and guaranteeing transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.


About the EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) 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 8.8 billion at end 2014. With investments in over 500 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 5.6 billion in over 350 operations at end 2014, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.


CIBANK as part of Belgium KBC Group is one the most active Bulgarian banks working on the implementation of European financial instruments to support the small and medium business in Bulgaria. The Bank has a long-term program for providing loans to SMEs at preferential rates and reduced collateral requirements. CIBANK is working in cooperation with various international and domestic financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank, European Investment Fund, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Development Bank of the Council of Europe, Bulgarian Development Bank, National Guarantee Fund etc.   

Thanks to the four credit lines of more than EUR 150 mln., which the bank received from the EIB in the last seven years, CIBANK managed to support more than 500 business projects at reduced interest rates with a minimum of 0.60% compared to the standard price of the loans.  The Bank has financed over 470 SME projects for more than EUR 62 mln. at collateral requirements reduced to 50% and interest rates up to 2.5% lower than the standard rates by using the JEREMIE guarantee, managed again by the EIF.



COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020. With a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion, COSME mobilises loans and equity investments to SMEs in Europe. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise more than EUR 19 billion of loans and EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 370,000 SMEs in Europe.

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: www.access2finance.eu 

About the Investment Plan for Europe

Press contacts:

EIF: David Yormesor Tel.: +352 42 66 88 346, e-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

CIBANK: Daniela Boyanova Tel.: +359 2 9029 330, e-mail: dboianova@cibank.bg

European Commission: Annika Breidthardt Tel.: +322 295 6153, e-mail: Annika.breidthardt@ec.europa.eu


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