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Investment Plan for Europe: SEK 2.7bn of EU finance for Swedish companies following EIF agreements with Almi Företagspartner and Svensk Exportkredit

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    Date: 29 April 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Almi Företagspartner (Almi) and Svensk Exportkredit (SEK), have signed guarantee agreements to increase lending to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps in Sweden. Two of the transactions benefit from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.

The agreements allow Almi and Svensk Exportkredit to provide around SEK 2.1 billion (around EUR 210 million) of loans to innovative companies in Sweden over the next 2 years. The loans will be supported by an EIF guarantee under the “EU InnovFin finance for Innovators” initiative with financial backing from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme.

In addition, a new microfinance agreement will allow Almi to provide a total of SEK 600 million (around EUR 60 million) to around 4,500 sole-traders and micro-businesses, benefiting from loans at a reduced interest rate, without providing collateral under the EU supported programme. The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund. Micro-enterprises wishing to apply for a loan under EaSI can directly contact Almi branches in Sweden.

Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "Today's agreements with Almi and Svensk Exportkredit are a real opportunity for 4,500 micro-entrepreneurs and other innovative companies in Sweden to benefit from low interest loans and create their own jobs. With the Investment Plan for Europe, the European Commission is fully committed to boosting employment in Europe, helping the creation of jobs and paving the way out of social and financial exclusion."

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert commented: “EUR 300 million provides substantial support for Swedish businesses - from micro-enterprises to innovative small mid-caps. We are pleased to be signing an agreement with our new financial intermediary SEK and to be further developing our relationship with our trusted partners Almi. Almi’s combination of tailored micro-lending products and business advisory services, plus SEK’s export expertise will help future entrepreneurs in Sweden to benefit from this EU support”.

Göran Lundwall, Chief Executive of ALMI “Sweden is at the frontline regarding new innovative startups. This agreement will allow us to provide enhanced access to financing for startups with growth potential”.

SEK’s CEO Catrin Fransson said: “A year ago, we introduced a business area dedicated to medium-sized companies. This has enabled us to build closer relationships with these companies and become better able to understand their needs; it also allows us to develop our own offering. The EIF guarantee is one example of how we can develop our offering”.

The Innovfin deals 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.

More information

About the European Investment Fund

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. More information on the EIF's work under the EFSI is available here.

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by April 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) triggered more than €80 billion of investment in Europe.

Find out the latest EFSI figures including a break-down by sector and by country here. For more information see the FAQs.

About InnovFin

The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between €25,000 and €7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small midcaps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by the EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by the EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.

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.

Press contacts:

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

Almi: Lars Mardbrant
Tel.: +46 70 3143434, e-mail: lars.mardbrant@almi

SEK (AB Svensk Exportkredit): Edvard Unsgaard
Tel: 08-613 84 88, e-mail: Edvard.Unsgaard@sek.se

European Commission: Siobhán Millbright
Tel.:+ 32 (0)2 29 5736, e-mail: Siobhan.millbright@ec.europa.eu


 
 

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