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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and 16 Bürgschaftsbanken sign COSME agreement to support SMEs

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    Date: 29 September 2015

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and 16 Bürgschaftsbanken have signed a COSME guarantee agreement in Germany benefitting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) through which the Investment Plan for Europe is deployed by the European Commission and the EIB Group.

The COSME agreement will allow Bürgschaftsbanken to support EUR 670 million of loans to over 4,000 German SMEs in the agricultural sector over the next three years.  Bürgschaftsbanken would team up with Rentenbank to offer a 60% guarantee on loans targeting SMEs in the agricultural sector for the first time. The guarantee will be backed by a counter-guarantee from the EIF, provided under the COSME programme with financial backing from the Commission.

European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "With this new agreement, we are putting the money where it matters. This agreement makes it easier for entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector to access credit and to grow their business for the benefit of Europe's citizens. It will also increase their competitiveness and contribute to jobs being created in Europe. This agreement can help our agricultural sector to blossom and truly become an engine for growth”.

Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am pleased to be signing this EFSI SME counter-guarantee agreement in Germany under the COSME programme. I am strongly convinced that we will be, together with Bürgschaftsbanken, able to support German SMEs in the agricultural sector with limited or no access to finance to grow their business and create jobs”.

Manfred Thivessen, Vice President of the Association of German guarantee banks (VDB)  and manager of the Bürgschaftsbank in North Rhine-Westfalia said: “We are happy that we can now also support agricultural and non-trade horticultural SMEs when they need collaterals for a financing by a bank.”

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.

About Bürgschaftsbanken and Rentenbank

Bürgschaftsbanken (German guarantee banks) are non-profit organisations operating under a specific banking license limited to guarantee activities. Each guarantee bank is active in the territory of its respective federal state and, as a consequence, the banks do not compete with each other. Guarantee banks benefit from a counter guarantee of 65% (75% in the eastern states – to be gradually adjusted to 65 %) provided by the federal and the respective state government. However, the agricultural sector is currently not eligible to benefit from the state guarantee.

Rentenbank, partnering with Bürgschaftsbanken under COSME, is Germany's development bank for agriculture focusing on granting promotional loans (without risk sharing) for agribusiness and rural areas.

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, 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

Association of German guarantee banks (VDB): Nina Gosslau Tel.: +49 30 263 96 54 15 , e-mail: gosslau@vdb-info.de

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


 
 

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