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Call for expression of interest JER-003/2

  •  
    Date: 05 May 2009 - 03 June 2009

ERAF"IEGULDĪJUMS TAVĀ NĀKOTNĒ!" EU Flag

Call for Expressions of Interest No. JER-003/2 to select Financial Intermediaries that will receive resources from the European Investment Fund acting through the JEREMIE Holding Fund for Latvia to implement the Funded Risk Sharing Financial Instrument.

Introduction

The JEREMIE initiative is a framework providing a series of coherent actions to promote increased access to finance for (primarily) micro to medium enterprises.
The JEREMIE initiative in Latvia is organised through the European Investment Fund (hereinafter, “EIF”) acting through the JEREMIE Holding Fund (hereinafter, “JHF”). Through the JHF, the EIF manages funds made available from the European Regional Development Fund (hereinafter, “ERDF”) and related public expenditure awarded for utilisation under the JEREMIE initiative.

As part of the Operational Programme “Entrepreneurship and Innovations” for the period 2007-2013[1], the competent authorities of Latvia have agreed to dedicate resources to the implementation of the JEREMIE initiative with the EIF, in accordance with Article 44(b)(i) of the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1083/2006[2]  (hereinafter, “Reg. 1083/2006”) and in accordance with the provisions of the Funding Agreement entered into on 16 July 2008 between the Government of the Republic of Latvia, represented by the Ministry of Economics (hereinafter, “GRL”) and EIF (hereinafter, “Funding Agreement”). Relevant rules for implementing Reg. 1083/2006 are set out in the Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1828/2006[3] (hereinafter, “Reg. 1828/2006”).

The cooperation between the GRL and the EIF acting through the JHF is governed by the Funding Agreement, which defines the type of cooperation and the operational modalities of the JHF financing expenditure in respect of an operation, as this term is defined in Reg. 1083/2006 (hereinafter, “Operation”) comprising contributions to support financial engineering instruments. The EIF acting through the JHF is advised by a Project Steering Committee, members of which are nominated by the Latvian authorities (hereinafter, “Steering Committee”). EIF in its capacity acting through the JHF acts on the basis of its usual business principles and an investment strategy and planning for the implementation of the JEREMIE initiative.

JEREMIE initiative is funded from the Operational Programme “Entrepreneurship and Innovations” for the period 2007–2013, Priority 2.2 “Access to Finance”, Measure 2.2.1. “Accessibility of financial resources”, Activity 2.2.1.1. “Holding fund for the investment in guarantee, high-risk loans, and venture capital funds and other financial instruments”.

This Call for Expression of Interest targets financial engineering instruments referred to in Article 44 of Reg. 1083/2006 and is addressed to bodies or firms, whether public or private, which are interested in receiving resources out of the JHF for the activities in respect of Operations (hereinafter “Financial Intermediaries”). Such activities shall be carried out in accordance with the contractual agreements to be entered into by the JHF and the selected Financial Intermediaries (hereinafter, “Operational Agreement(s)”).

The Financial Intermediaries should express their interest by completing and submitting an Expression of Interest, a template of which is attached hereto as Annex 1(EN); (LV)  .

1.    Definitions and Interpretation

In this Call for Expression of Interest, capitalised terms and expressions shall have the meaning attributed to them below, unless otherwise defined above or the context requires otherwise:

Applicant

means a Financial Intermediary applying to this Call for Expression of Interest;

Business Day

means a day during which EIF Luxembourg office is open, and banks are open for general business in Riga and Luxembourg;

Deadline

Means 3rd of June 2009;

Eligibility Criteria

means the criteria with which the Expressions of Interest and the Applicants must comply with and which are listed in Annex 2 hereof;

Expression of Interest

means a proposal sent by an Applicant in response to this Call for Expression of Interest, within the Deadline, to be drafted in accordance with the template attached hereto as Annex 1(EN); (LV) ;

JEREMIE

means the initiative "Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises" launched by the Commission and EIF, as member of the European Investment Bank Group, in order to promote increased access to finance for the development of SMEs in the European Union;

JHF

means the EIF in its capacity acting through the JEREMIE Holding Fund for Latvia, appointed under the Funding Agreement;

Operational Agreement

means an agreement entered into between a Financial Intermediary and EIF on behalf of the JHF regarding a Financial Instrument on the basis of this Call for Expression of Interest and the selection process;

Quality Assessment Criteria

means the quality assessment criteria applied by EIF experts at the sole discretion of EIF to the suitability of the Applicant and/or the proposed Financial Instrument according to the business standards of EIF and which are listed in Annex 2 hereof;

Selection Criteria

means the Eligibility Criteria and the Quality Assessment Criteria;

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises or SMEs

means micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as defined in the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC.


2.  Holding fund manager
European Investment Fund, 96 Boulevard Konrad Adenauer L-2968 Luxembourg.

The European Investment Fund and the GRL will consider the option, with effect from 30th of June, 2011, to substitute EIF acting through and in its role as the JHF by the Latvian Guarantee Agency as successor entity. In the event of such substitution, the Latvian Guarantee Agency as successor entity would assume the full discretion and responsibility to perform the tasks of the JHF and to implement the Operations in Latvia. In the event of such substitution of EIF acting through and in its role as the JHF, the Operational Agreements will seek to provide for a substitution of EIF accordingly.

3. Description of the activities expected from the selected Financial Intermediaries 
The selected Financial Intermediaries will have to implement a financial engineering instrument briefly described in the table below (hereinafter, “Financial Instrument”). A Financial Instrument shall either be set up as an independent legal entity governed by agreements between the co-financing partners or shareholders or as a separate block of finance within a Financial Intermediary. As provided by Reg. 1828/2006, a separate block of finance shall be subject to specific implementation rules within the Financial Intermediary, stipulating, in particular, that separate accounts are kept which distinguish the JHF resources invested in the Financial Instrument, including those contributed by the Operational Programme, from those initially available in the Financial Intermediary. It is planned to allocate out of the JHF an amount up to EUR 52 million to the Financial Instrument.

See below detailed list of indicative allocation and the relevant Annex setting out the Selection Criteria and the description of the Financial Instrument:

Financial Instrument Indicative capital allocation (millions EUR) Applicable annexes
Funded Risk Sharing Financial Instrument 52 Annex 2 (Funded Risk Sharing Financial Instrument: Description and Selection Criteria)


The Financial Intermediaries may express their interest for a contribution up to the total amount allocated by the JHF to the Financial Instrument.

The indicative capital allocated to the Financial Instrument as well as the amounts contributed by the JHF to the selected Financial Intermediary may be increased, at EIF’s sole discretion, if more funding becomes available during the JHF implementation process.

4. Expression of Interest

A template for the Expression of Interest is attached hereto as Annex 1(EN); (LV) 

The Expression of Interest includes the Applicant's identification, the project description, the supporting documents, the declaration of absence of conflict of interest and the statement regarding situations of exclusion.

No later than 10 Business Days before the Deadline, the Applicants may request clarifications regarding the Call for Expression of Interest or the nature of the Financial Instrument. Such requests must indicate the Call for Expression of Interest reference number and the name of the Applicant and shall be submitted in English via email to:


Regional Business Development Unit
European Investment Fund
e-mail: info.rbd@eif.org


EIF will, in principle, not contact any Applicant prior to the Deadline, unless it considers it necessary to clarify issues of a mere technical nature. However, should EIF discover any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or any other type of clerical defect in the text of the Call for Expression of Interest before the Deadline, EIF will correct the text and inform accordingly.
5. Language

The Expressions of Interest, including the submitted documents, shall be in English and Latvian. In case of discrepancies between the English version and the Latvian one, the English version shall prevail. 

6. Submission of Expression of Interest

The Expressions of Interest shall be submitted on or before the Deadline both by (i) e-mail and (ii) registered mail or professional courier service. The Expressions of Interest sent by registered mail or professional courier service shall consist of a closed single package, and shall contain the Expression of Interest, together with its attachments, in paper form and in removable electronic storage medium (e.g. CD-ROM).

The Deadline for the submission of Expressions of Interest is the 3rd of June, 2009.


Postal Address:

European Investment Fund
Attention: Regional Business Development Unit
96 Boulevard Konrad Adenauer
L-2968 Luxembourg
LUXEMBOURG

The outer envelope (package) shall indicate the following:
"Expression of Interest - Reference number of the Call (No. JER-004/2) - Not to be opened by the reception - To be passed without opening to Regional Business Development Unit".

E-mail Address: info.rbd@eif.org (To the attention of the Regional Business Development Unit)

7. Selection process 

When selecting Financial Intermediaries, EIF is committed to respecting fundamental principles, such as the principles of:

- equal treatment
- non-discrimination
- confidentiality
- transparency

The Expressions of Interest will be examined by the EIF using professional analysis and judgment, taking into account the Selection Criteria.

The EIF will reject those Expressions of Interest which do not comply with the Eligibility Criteria. Financial Intermediaries, whose application is rejected because of non-compliance with any of the elements reflected in the statement regarding situations of exclusion (Appendix 4 to Annex 1 hereto), may not present themselves for consideration in subsequent Calls for the Expression of Interest unless it is specifically evidenced that the reason for the exclusion no longer exists.

The expiration of the Deadline shall not prevent EIF, in limited circumstances if deemed necessary, from requesting and receiving from Applicants clarifications on issues of a mere technical or formal nature, provided that such clarifications shall neither provide an opportunity to the respective Applicants to unduly improve their applications nor otherwise distort the competition between the Applicants.

Applicants which are not excluded according to the Eligibility Criteria will go through the EIF selection process based on the Quality Assessment Criteria. The further selection based on the Quality Assessment Criteria, and the due diligence process if any, follows the standard procedures and guidelines applied by EIF to its business.
In any phase of the selection process, EIF reserves itself full discretion to consider Financial Intermediaries and no Applicant has any claim or other right or may expect to be ultimately selected for financial support by the JHF.
Similarly, any negotiation of terms and conditions of Operational Agreements by no means entails any obligation for the EIF and/or the JHF to enter into such Operational Agreement with the relevant Financial Intermediaries.
Financial Intermediaries which do not receive contributions from the JHF are informed accordingly; EIF is under no obligation to communicate any motivation of the refusal to consider a Financial Intermediary for support from the JHF.

8. Operational Provisions

The Financial Intermediaries, with which Operational Agreements will be eventually signed, shall be required to comply with the EIF anti-fraud policy and with the relevant monitoring, reporting, publicity and auditing obligations required by the EU regulations applicable to ERDF and by the Funding Agreement. Such obligations are briefly described in the relevant Financial Instrument description documents, and will be mentioned in the relevant Operational Agreement.

ANNEXES
 - Annex 1(EN); (LV)  to the Call of expression of interest.
 - Annex 2 Funded Risk Sharing Financial Instrument: Description and Selection Criteria

Notes:

1. Such Operational Programme approved by the European Commission Decision K (2007) 4466 of 24 November 2007.

2. Council Regulation (EC) No. 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No. 1260/1999 (Official Journal of the European Union L210 of 31.07.2006).

3.Official Journal of the European Union L371 of 27.12.2006.


 
 

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