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EIF and Česká spořitelna sign InnovFin guarantee agreement to finance innovative Czech companies

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    Date: 31 March 2015

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Česká spořitelna have signed an agreement to increase lending to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as small Mid-caps under InnovFin – EU finance for innovators, an initiative supported by the European Commission.

The new agreement allows Česká spořitelna to provide finance to innovative companies in the Czech Republic for a total of c. CZK 2,800m (EUR 100m) over the next 2 years with the support of a guarantee provided by the EIF and backed under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. This is the one of the two first InnovFin SME guarantee signatures in the Czech Republic, from total eighth in Europe, enabling Česká spořitelna to offer innovative companies additional financing at favourable conditions.

Commenting on the signature, EIF Director of Guarantees, Securitisation and Microfinance, Alessandro Tappi said: “I am pleased to be signing this InnovFin SME Guarantee with Česká spořitelna. They supported a number of businesses under the predecessor (RSI programme) already and I am convinced that even more innovative companies will benefit from this finance in next two years”.

"We have only the best experience with EIF and we appreciate the cooperation. Loans with EIF guarantee contribute to specific innovative projects of our clients, small and medium-sized enterprises. Thanks to the EIF guarantee line that we have signed in 2012, we provided Czech SMEs loans amounting to CZK 2 billion," said Ladislav Dvořák, Manager of Strategic Projects at Ceska sporitelna.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "The Czech Republic can reap huge benefits from its expanding research base. The two InnovFin SME Guarantee agreements signed today will enable innovative SMEs to create business the opportunities of tomorrow, which will strengthen the Czech economy." 

The aim of the InnovFin SME Guarantee is to encourage banks or other financial institutions to lend to SMEs and small mid-caps (firms with fewer than 500 employees) in need of investment and/or operating capital to finance research, development and innovation activities, with EU financial support. Financial institutions are being selected by the EIF following a call for expression of interest for financial intermediaries across Europe.

About InnovFin SME Guarantee

InnovFin SME Guarantee provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between €25,000 and €7.5 million, in order to improve access to debt finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small midcaps (up to 499 employees). The InnovFin SME Guarantee is implemented by the European Investment Fund, and will be rolled out through financial intermediaries (banks and other financial institutions) in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under the InnovFin SME Guarantee, financial intermediaries will be guaranteed by the EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing. InnovFin SME Guarantee is part of InnovFin - EU Finance for Innovators, a new range of EIB Group (including EIF and EIB) products to facilitate access to finance for innovative businesses. This transaction is supported with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.

About the EIF

The European Investment Fund's (EIF) 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.

About Česká spořitelna

Ceska sporitelna is the largest bank in the Czech Republic. More than 5 million clients use its services: individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, and municipalities, but also finances large corporations and provides financial market services. Ceska sporitelna has been a member of Erste Group since 2000, and under that brand, it serves affluent and corporate clients. Ceska sporitelna is the largest provider of loans to corporations in terms of the aggregate loan amount. Major arranger of syndicated, club, acquisition, and project financing solutions. A leader in arranging domestic and foreign bond issues for local as well as international clients. A major advisor on mergers and acquisitions. The largest trader on capital markets in the Czech Republic, measured in terms of the number of stocks issued (IPOs and SPOs) and their volume. One of the most important partners of the European Investment Bank in Central Europe.

About Horizon 2020

On 1 January 2014, the European Union launched a new research and innovation funding programme called Horizon 2020. Over the next seven years almost €80 billion will be invested in research and innovation projects to support Europe’s economic competitiveness and extend the frontiers of human knowledge. The EU research budget is focused mainly on improving everyday life in areas like health, the environment, transport, food and energy. Research partnerships with the pharmaceutical, aerospace, car and electronics industries also encourage private-sector investment in support of future growth and high-skilled job creation. "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators", the new generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services was developed under Horizon 2020 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will help to inject up to EUR 48 billion in investments in Research and Innovation across Europe.

Press contacts:

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


 
 

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