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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and Iccrea Banking Group sign two EFSI transactions to support small businesses in Italy

    Date: 10 October 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Iccrea Banking Group have signed an InnovFin SME guarantee agreement, as well as a COSME agreement in Italy. These two agreements benefit from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is at the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.

The InnovFin agreement allows Iccrea Banking Group’s subsidiary, Iccrea BancaImpresa S.p.A., to provide loans and leases to SMEs and small mid-caps in Italy over the next two years, with the support of a guarantee provided by EIF and backed under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The EU support for innovative Italian companies is expected to generate a portfolio of EUR 100 million of loans and leases.

The COSME agreement will allow Iccrea Banking Group’s equipment leasing company, BCC Lease S.p.A., to provide EUR 150 million of loans and leases to SMEs over the next three years. Thanks to the support of a guarantee from EIF under the COSME programme with financial backing from the EU, the loans and leases will be provided to enterprises that otherwise might not have had access to finance. It is expected that the guarantee will allow BCC Lease to support over 14,000 SMEs.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "This agreement combines both EU backed loans and leases for a range of small businesses in Italy supporting their innovation and growth. It is the latest Italian deal under the SME Window of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, which across Europe has led already to over EUR 50 billion of investments into SMEs in not much more than a year."

Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “The transactions with Iccrea Banking Group complement the existing EIF efforts to support SMEs and small mid-caps on the Italian market. As Iccrea Banking Group is a long-standing partner of EIF, I am convinced that they will quickly target the businesses in need of additional financing.”

Iccrea BancaImpresa Chief Executive Officer, Enrico Duranti, said: “As the corporate bank of the Credit Cooperative system, we consider these agreements as fundamental instruments to keep on supporting the Credit Cooperative Banks and their commitment on behalf of the Italian economy. That’s why the cooperation with the European Institutions is both an opportunity and a resource for the Italian Credit Cooperative system to play its role in a more efficient way.”

BCC Lease Chief Executive Officer, Piero Biagi, said: “BCC Lease, with this agreement, can get even closer to the small and medium enterprises, enlarging the number of companies that can be served by us, supporting their development projects, facilitating the Credit Cooperative Banks in their mission as reference points for the Italian local economy, and increasing the activity with the net of the agreed suppliers, even within businesses that aren’t covered yet.”

These InnovFin and COSME transactions with Iccrea Banking Group reflect the EU's commitment to rapidly launch concrete initiatives under the EFSI, accelerating lending and guaranteeing transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.

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

About Iccrea Banking Group

The Iccrea Banking Group is made up of companies that provide exclusive products and services to more than 350 BCC-CR (Banche di Credito Cooperativo e Casse Rurali –Cooperative Credit Banks – Rural Savings Banks) in Italy.

The Iccrea Banking Group is one of the main partners of the European Investment Bank for the operations of securitisation, with which the EIB provides financial resources for the Italian SMEs. The last operation with EIB, in August 2016, was worth EUR 1.4 billion.

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan for Europe focuses on strengthening European investments to create jobs and growth. It does so by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that the projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far (by 26 September 2016) are expected to mobilise EUR 127.2 billion in total investments across 27 Member States and to support almost 290,000 SMEs.

Building on this success, the European Commission on 14 September 2016 proposed extending the EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. Find 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 EUR 25,000 and EUR 7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by 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 EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.


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 21 billion of loans and more than EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 383,000 SMEs in Europe.

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/.

Press contacts:


David Yormesor
Tel.: + 352 24 85 81 346, E-Mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

Iccrea Banking Group:

Filippo Piperno
Iccrea Holding
Relazioni Esterne - Resp. Media Relations
Tel.: + 39 335-7758812, E-Mail: fpiperno@Iccrea.bcc.it

Marco Bellabarba
Iccrea Holding
Relazioni Esterne - Media Relations
Tel.: + 39 06-72072004, E-Mail: mbellabarba@Iccreah.bcc.it

European Commission:

Siobhán Millbright
Tel.:+ 32 (0)2 29 57 36, E-Mail: siobhan.millbright@ec.europa.eu


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