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EIB Group-EC SME Initiative: Malta to implement new financing initiative

    Date: 15 July 2015

The EIB Group (EIB and EIF) has concluded an agreement with the Government of Malta and the European Commission for the implementation of the SME Initiative in Malta. The agreement was signed today in Valletta by EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert and the Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency and EU Funds Hon. Dr. Ian Borg within the office of Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta.

Malta is contributing an amount of EUR 15 million from its European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to this new EU initiative. The EUR 15 million contributed by the Government of Malta will be leveraged with commercial lending through a risk-sharing mechanism. This will result in more SMEs benefiting from European resources on advantageous terms, such as reduced interest rates and improved collateral requirements. It is expected that more than EUR 60 million of new SME financing will be supported under this programme. This financial instrument will act as a catalyst for private investment and foster job creation.

The SME Initiative entails an innovative change in the use of ESIF, combining the latter with EU central budget (resources from the Horizon 2020 programme) and EIB group funds.

Commenting on the new initiative, EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am extremely pleased that EIF and Malta are implementing this important initiative, which will generate more than EUR 60 million of SME financing over the coming years. The combination of European Structural and Investment Funds, EU Horizon 2020 and EIB Group resources allows EIF to provide risk-sharing and capital relief to financial intermediaries for the ultimate benefit of SMEs. I am grateful to all the parties involved for the good collaboration leading to the launch of this joint initiative.”

During the signing ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Louis Grech commented that: “The Government will be allocating EUR 15 million to the SME initiative intended to support investment and development of local SMEs. It is expected that over 800 SMEs will benefit, with the instrument expected to leverage EUR 60 million in private financing. Such initiatives provide a strong opportunity for European citizens, to relate to the Union, and, are a visible demonstration of the benefits of EU membership.”

Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Dr Ian Borg who also addressed the conference explained that: “This Financial Instrument will open up further opportunities for Investment for SMEs. This initiative will play a crucial role in the growth of the Maltese economy as an important source of employment.”  

Commenting on the signature, Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy said: "I congratulate the Maltese authorities for their commitment to strengthening SME competitiveness. The launch of the SME Initiative in Malta today is a good example of how European institutions, national authorities and the private sector can work together to help SMEs with the financing needed for their investment projects. This is exactly what the Commission is also doing through the Investment Plan: supporting businesses that drive innovation and job creation and helping to fund similar initiatives to achieve growth, employment and prosperity across the EU."

About EIF

The European Investment Fund's (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 8.8bn 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 5.6bn in over 350 operations at end 2014, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

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


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