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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and PMV sign EUR 40 million agreement to benefit over 700 SMEs in Belgium

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    Date: 26 November 2015

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Flemish investment group PMV have signed a COSME agreement in Flanders, Belgium, 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 Participatiefonds Vlaanderen, a subsidiary of PMV, to provide EUR 40 million of loans to SMEs in Belgium over the next two years. The number of loans granted will increase significantly 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 Participatiefonds Vlaanderen to support additional financing at favourable conditions to over 700 SMEs.

Speaking at the event in Brussels, Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility said: “I am very pleased that we are signing the first EFSI agreement with partners in Flanders today. More than 700 SMEs will be able to access EUR 40 million in funding through new loans. The Investment Plan for Europe has been designed to create new jobs and boost innovation. Today this commitment turns into reality in Flanders."

Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois added: "From the start the Government of Flanders has supported the Juncker plan which is being carried out since September. With this partnership between PMV and the EIF, we are now taking concrete steps to make the European Fund for Strategic Investments operational in Flanders. Together with the European Union, the Government of Flanders creates sustainable investment with a focus on job creation. This begins with targeted support of state of the art SMEs".

Commenting on the signature at the event in Brussels, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am pleased to be signing this EFSI SME guarantee agreement in Belgium under the COSME programme. Working with PMV with whom we have supported SMEs in the past, we will be able to help entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses”.

Michel Casselman, CEO at PMV said: "We’re extremely excited that this agreement allows us to lend an even bigger hand to SMEs in Flanders than we did before. These EFSI-funds will find their way to our most promising SMEs thanks to the loans we provide with the Start+ and SME-cofinance schemes, managed by our Participatiefonds Vlaanderen".


About the 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 by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both 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 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 and growth funds, including in the high-tech and early-stage segments. In addition to its equity activities EIF’s loan guarantees portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6bn in over 350 operations at end 2014, ranking it as a major European SME guarantee provider and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

About PMV

PMV nv is a do and dare company which is shaping the future of the Flemish economy: PMV “does” so as an advisor and “dares” it as an investor. PMV finances promising businesses from the very start, through growth and internationalisation. It carries out projects that contribute towards the welfare and wellbeing of people in Flanders. The company acts as an entrepreneur and as a market producer. It also provides financial leverage if the market needs support and the necessary private initiatives are not forthcoming enough. PMV collaborates with private partners via funds and public-private partnerships. Particular emphasis is placed on sustainable energy, biotech, cleantech, life sciences, the creative industry and infrastructure for the future. PMV manages a portfolio of EUR 900 million in assets. PMV also realizes projects on behalf of the Flemish Region. www.pmv.eu

About COSME

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. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to ease access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. 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 almost EUR 20 billion of loans and EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 373,000 SMEs in Europe. Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: www.access2finance.eu


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