The European Investment Fund (EIF, part of the EIB Group), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and a first group of 8 Italian regions (Calabria, Campania, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piemonte, Puglia, Toscana, Umbria and Veneto) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the new Agricultural Multi-Regional Guarantee Platform (AMGP). An innovative financial instrument aimed at supporting Italian rural companies with an initial target of more than EUR 400 million of new lending.
The guarantee platform introduces a new instrument for managing European structural funds in Italy through which EIF together with CDP will support new loans in the agricultural and agri-food business by providing a 50% guarantee to financial intermediaries on loans to SMEs and mid-caps in the sector.
The agreement was signed in the presence of the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Food & Forestry Policies, Maurizio Martina, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, regional ministers, EIB Vice-President and EIF Chairman Dario Scannapieco, EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert and CDP representatives.
The new debt instruments under the AMGP will help farmers to increase their productivity and will support investments into SMEs and small mid-caps transforming and marketing agricultural products.
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "I am hugely encouraged by this great initiative, which is a pioneering example for Member States and regions throughout the EU. Financial instruments have the potential to unleash the power of investment in agriculture. I am extremely pleased with this excellent cooperation between regional, national and European institutions, which shows how we can do more for European farmers by attracting more private funding to the sector. I hope that this initiative will be replicated throughout the EU."
EIF Chairman and EIB Vice-President, Dario Scannapieco, said: "The European Investment Bank has continued to increase its investments into the Italian economy and has identified agriculture as a growth sector. With the signature of this new Platform the EIB Group is demonstrating a commitment to entrepreneurs in rural Italy who contribute to economic development in Italian regions. The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome today in Verona provides a fitting forum for the launch of this new platform."
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: "EIF is delighted to be providing additional support for Italian rural SMEs. The appetite in Italy for a guarantee product, supported by structural funds from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, is strong as a result of the significant market gap in this sector. EIF is very pleased to be playing a role in meeting the increasing demand for agricultural finance.”
CDP Chairman, Fabio Gallia, said: "The agreement that we sign today will lay the foundations for a new and innovative financial instrument that can effectively support access to credit for small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector. This is the first initiative in Italy that combines European Structural Funds with resources from both CDP, in its role as National Promotional Institution, and the European Investment Bank. CDP has already approved a commitment of 150 million euro and hopes for the involvement of other Italian regions to increase the size of the initiative thus supporting a sector which is key for the development of our country, especially the South”.
Cassa depositi e prestiti Group (CDP) is the Italian National Promotional Institution supporting the economy since 1850. CDP intervenes in the Public Administration sector, financing investments and promoting the leveraging of the real estate assets, being also the leading Italian player in social housing; it also acts as a catalyst for the growth of Italian infrastructures. The Group assists businesses of all sizes, in the export and internationalization process, with Venture Capital funds and investing as a long-term partner in relevant Italian companies.
The Agricultural Multi-Regional Guarantee Platform is a financial instrument managed by EIF and backed by the European Union. It is an uncapped guarantee (50%) on new loans provided by the EIF to selected banks and other financial intermediaries for investments by farmers and companies producing, transforming and marketing agricultural products. 8 regions (Veneto, Piemonte, Toscana, Umbria, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Campania, Puglia, Calabria) are contributing by providing an aggregate amount of EUR 70m via their Regional Programmes for Rural Development Programmes to cover the first losses. The contributions by EIF, EIB, CDP and ISMEA will significantly increase the available resources, with a possible target loan portfolio of up to EUR 1 billion if all regions would join the platform.
EIB: Marco Santarelli
Tel.: +39 06 4719726
EIF: David Yormesor
Tel.: +352 42 66 88 346
European Commission (Brussels): Dermot Ryan
Tel.: +32 2 29 57854
CDP: Press Office (Rome)
Tel. : +39 06 4221 4000