Luxembourg, 7 October 2004 - Chief Executives of the Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) and of the European Investment Fund (EIF) Mr. Erős, Mr. Czirják and Mr. Carpenter, have signed today in Budapest the first guarantee operation of the Fund to be concluded in Hungary. The signing ceremony took place prior to the EIF Financial Shareholders Meeting, hosted by MFB in Budapest.
This EIF guarantee (of a nominal amount of EUR 20 million) will cover part of the risks taken by the Hungarian Development Bank in the context of the ECONOVA EIF-MFB Risk Sharing Loan Program, which offers long term financing for technology development investments supporting the closing up of the Hungarian economy to the EU and increasing the competitiveness of SMEs. MFB wishes to realise this program in close cooperation with Hungarian commercial banks.
In the view of EIF Chief Executive, Francis Carpenter, the guarantee facility agreement is reflecting the excellent cooperation prevailing with Hungarian Development Bank, which had been the first financial institution of the new member states to join the EIF shareholding, even before the Accession of the country. In operational terms, this guarantee operation in Hungary, linked with an ambitious national loan program, is fully in line with EIF's objectives: support to European technology, balanced development of the European Union, priority given to the new member states.
The funding of the operation is provided by the European Union, in the framework of the Multiannual Programme for SMEs, managed by the EIF.
EIF, a EU financial body and member of the EIB Group, was created in 1994. Already since its inception, EIF has been shaped as a public-private partnership, with a hybrid shareholder base that today includes the European Investment Bank (59.45%), the European Commission (30%), and 31 European financial institutions (10.55%). EIF operates through venture capital investments and SME guarantees (securitisation, loan and microcredit guarantees) and has impacted over 350 000 SMEs in 22 countries. Recently, EIF has launched new advisory services whereby it provides advice based in particular on its expertise as an investor and/or as guarantor.
The overall portfolio of EIF amounts to EUR 10bn: investments in venture capital funds representing EUR 2,5bn (in about 190 funds), guarantee commitments EUR 7,5bn, in 130 transactions with financial institutions.