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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and Komercni banka sign agreements to benefit over 2,300 SMEs

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    Date: 19 January 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Komercni banka have signed a COSME agreement in the Czech Republic, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe and also signed an EaSI microfinance transaction, the first microfinance transaction in the Czech Republic.

The COSME agreement will allow Komercni banka to provide CZK 1 billion (c. EUR 37 million) of loans to start-ups in the Czech Republic over the next three years. Two new loan products will be provided without any hard collateral 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 Komercni banka to support additional financing at favourable conditions to over 1,000 SMEs.

This EaSI microfinance agreement enables Komercni banka to provide a total of CZK 400 million (c. EUR 14.7 million) to over 1,300 micro-entrepreneurs, including the unemployed, minorities, low income earners and parents having childcare difficulties. The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund.

Commenting on the transactions, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, said: "With the COSME agreement being signed today by Komercni banka and the EIF more than 2,300 very small businesses and SMEs in the Czech Republic will be able to access funding through new loans. With the Investment Plan we are supporting the backbone of our economy and I look forward to many more SME financing agreements across Europe throughout 2016."

Commenting on the signature, EIF Deputy Chief Executive, Roger Havenith said: “I am pleased that we are signing the EFSI SME guarantee agreement in the Czech Republic under the COSME programme and the first Czech microfinance transaction under the EaSI initiative. We have a long-standing relationship with Komercni banka with whom we have supported companies in the past. By signing these two agreements today, we extend our support to entrepreneurs and disadvantaged groups to start-up and develop their businesses”.

“Last year, the Czech Republic saw the largest increase in the number of new firms for the past seven years. In their beginnings, most of them therefore seek financing options. I am therefore delighted that with EIF’s support, we are now offering those who are on the starting line in their business a product thanks to which they will be able to carry out their ideas more easily,” said Albert Le Dirac’h, Komerční banka Chairman and CEO.

This is one of the first wave of 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'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 Komerční banka

KOMERČNÍ BANKA is the only publicly traded Czech bank. As at 30 September 2015, KB had 42,990 shareholders, 37,799 of which were individuals from the Czech Republic. Komerční banka maintains a reliable level of capital and liquidity even under the Czech National Bank’s higher capital requirements for systemically important financial institutions, and it is ready to meet the requirements of the Basel III regulatory framework’s requirements, which have been gradually implemented since 2014.

KOMERČNÍ BANKA is one of the best run universal banks in Central Europe. It provides comprehensive services to clients in the areas of retail, corporate and investment banking. The Komerční banka Group’s 8,416 employees serve 2.5 million clients, who can use an extensive network of 396 business points throughout the country. Komerční banka currently operates 766 ATMs and 1.3 million of its clients use one of direct banking channels. KB is a part of the Société Générale Group. (www.kb.cz)

About the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation

Under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), the European Commission supports microfinance and social entrepreneurship finance with an overall envelope of EUR 193 million for the period 2014-2020. The aim is to increase access to microfinance, which includes microcredit i.e. loans of up to EUR 25,000, in particular for vulnerable persons and micro-enterprises. In addition, for the first time, the European Commission will also support social enterprises through loans of up to EUR 500,000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support will be first implemented through the EaSI Guarantee, which will enable financial intermediaries to reach out to (potential) micro-entrepreneurs that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations. The European Commission has selected EIF to implement the EaSI Guarantee.

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

About the Investment Plan for Europe

Easi Programme        

EU support to social entrepreneurship

Press contacts:

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

KB: Pavel Zúbek: Tel.: +420 955 532 009, e-mail: pavel_zubek@kb.cz

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


 
 

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