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JEREMIE Romania: Call for Expression of Interest to select Financial Intermediaries to implement a Funded Financial Instrument with an embedded Risk Sharing element

  •  
    Date: 07 August 2013 - 20 September 2013

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Ref.: Call for EoI No. JER-002/4


Call for Expression of Interest to select Financial Intermediaries that will receive resources from the JEREMIE Holding Fund for Romania to implement a JEREMIE Funded Financial Instrument with an embedded Risk Sharing element

The JEREMIE initiative is a framework providing a series of coherent actions to promote increased access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The JEREMIE initiative in Romania 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 Sectoral Operational Programme “Increase of Economic Competitiveness” for the period 2007-2013 (hereinafter, “SOP IEC”)[1], the Government of Romania has agreed to dedicate resources to the implementation of the JEREMIE initiative with EIF, in accordance with Article 44 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 18 February 2008 between the Government of Romania (hereinafter, “GoR”) and EIF (hereinafter, “Funding Agreement”)[3]. Relevant rules for implementing Reg. 1083/2006 are set out in the Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1828/2006[4] (hereinafter, “Reg. 1828/2006”).

The cooperation between the GoR and 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. EIF acting through the JHF is advised by an Investment Board, the members of which are nominated by the GoR (hereinafter, “Investment Board”). 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.

The JEREMIE initiative is funded from the SOP IEC; Priority Axis 1 “An innovative and eco-efficient productive system”; Key Area of Intervention 1.2 “Access to finance for SMEs”.

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 EIF 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.

 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, which has to be a credit institution authorized to carry out business in Romania under the applicable regulatory framework;

Deadline

means 20/09/2013;

Eligibility Criteria

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

Financial Instrument

JEREMIE Funded Financial Instrument with a risk sharing element;

JEREMIE

means the initiative “Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises” launched by the Commission and the 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;

EIB Group

The EIB Group consists of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund ( EIF);

JHF

means EIF in its capacity acting through the JEREMIE Holding Fund for Romania, 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 at the sole discretion of EIF to assess 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 under Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC.

2.     Holding Fund manager

EIF, with registered address at 15 avenue JF Kennedy, L-2968, Luxembourg ((URL): www.eif.org) acts through the JEREMIE Holding Fund for Romania as appointed through the Funding Agreement.

Under the Funding Agreement, EIF may be substituted in its role as JHF. In the event of such substitution, GoR, or the entity appointed by GoR as new JHF, will assume the full discretion and responsibility to perform the tasks of the JHF and to implement the Operations in Romania, and may take over the Financial Instruments. The Operational Agreements will provide for the possible substitution of EIF, in order to allow the transfer of the Operational Agreements to the successor entity.

3.     Description of the activities expected from the selected Financial Intermediaries

The selected Financial Intermediaries will enter into Operational Agreements with the objective to implement a financial engineering instrument briefly described in the table below (hereinafter, “Financial Instrument”). A Financial Instrument shall either be set up either 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 indicative initial amount of EUR 20 million to the Financial Instrument from the Sectoral Operational Programme “Increase of Economic Competitiveness 2007-2013”.

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

Financial Instrument

Indicative initial capital allocation (million EUR)

Applicable Annexes

JEREMIE funded financial instrument

20 (twenty)

Annex 2 (Financial Instrument: Description and Selection Criteria)

Under this Call for EoI, additional capital may be allocated from time to time to the Financial Instrument until 31/12/2015, at EIF’s sole discretion, on the basis of additional funds becoming available at JHF level and which EIF intends to deploy in accordance with the objectives and features of this Call for EoI. In this context, it is noted that the SOP IEC Monitoring Committee approved on 03/06/2013 an increase of the JEREMIE Holding Fund capital by EUR 50m.

Financial Intermediaries shall clearly express their interest for a capital allocation (in terms of amount requested) and may express their interest for a capital allocation higher than the total initial amount allocated by the JHF to the Financial Instrument.

4.     Expression of Interest

A template for the Expression of Interest is available as Annex 1.  The Expression of Interest includes the Applicant’s identification form, the project proposal, the supporting documents, the declaration of absence of conflict of interest and the statements regarding situations of exclusion.

Until no later than 30/08/2013, 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, info.rbd@eif.org

Requests for clarifications from Applicants shall not receive individual replies. Instead, answers to all requests for clarifications received within the relevant deadline will be published together in a clarification document to be posted on the website www.eif.org no later than 06/09/2013.

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, the EIF will correct the text and inform the Applicants accordingly.

5.     Language

The Expressions of Interest, including the submitted documents, shall be in English.

6.     Submission of Expression of Interest

The Expressions of Interest shall be submitted on or before the Deadline both by (i) e-mail (no more than 10 megabytes per email) 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, USB Memory Stick).

The Deadline for the submission of Expressions of Interest is 20/09/2013.

The Deadline applies (i) in case of e-mails to the reception by the EIF and (ii) in case of registered mail or professional courier service to the date of dispatch proven by the post office stamp or a dispatch receipt.

The Expressions of Interest shall indicate the reference number of the Call (No. JER-002/4) and the name of the Applicant and shall be sent to the following address:

Postal Address:

European Investment Fund
Attention: Regional Business Development Unit
15, avenue JF Kennedy
L-2968 Luxembourg
LUXEMBOURG

The outer envelope (package) shall indicate the following: “Expression of Interest - Reference number of the Call (No. JER-002/4) - Not to be opened by the reception – To be passed without opening to Regional Business Development Unit”).

E-mail Address: Attention: Regional Business Development Unit, info.rbd@eif.org

 Prior to the Deadline and in the same manner as specified above, the Applicants may change or amend their Expressions of Interest by clearly indicating the parts to be changed or amended. Prior or after the Deadline and in the same manner as specified above, the Applicants may withdraw their Expressions of Interest.After the Deadline, an acknowledgement of receipt will be sent to the relevant Applicants by the EIF via e-mail, which shall state the following:

  • Reference number of the Call for Expression of Interest;
  • Unique proposal identifier (Expression of Interest number);
  • Confirmation that the Expression of Interest was received before the Deadline.

The acknowledgement of receipt shall not be construed as a declaration of completeness of the Expression of Interest and the documents submitted therewith, nor any kind of assessment of the same.

7.     Selection process

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

i)  equal treatment,
ii)  non-discrimination,
iii) confidentiality and
iv) transparency.

The Expressions of Interest will be examined by the EIF, on a comparative basis, using professional analysis and judgment, according to 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 statements regarding situations of exclusion (Appendices 4 and 5 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 the EIF, in limited cases 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 who are not excluded according to the Eligibility Criteria, and who have provided the additional information requested as per Appendix 2 within the deadline, will go through the EIF selection process based on the Quality Assessment Criteria

The selection based on the Quality Assessment Criteria, and the due diligence process, if any, follow the standard procedures and guidelines applied by the EIF to its business. The evaluation of proposals at this phase will be conducted under competitive terms and one or more Applicants may be selected. To be noted that, in the context of the evaluation procedure, the EIF may take negotiation positions, which view specifically at the improvement of the access to finance for the benefit of the final beneficiary SMEs.

If, for any reason, an Operational Agreement is not signed with an Applicant initially selected, the EIF reserves the right to consider increasing the amount negotiated with (an)other Applicant(s) initially selected (in case more than one is selected).Applicants who are not considered for contractual negotiations may constitute a reserve list, with a validity of maximum one year following notification.

During this period of time and in case the EIF does not proceed further with any of the selected Applicant(s) for contractual negotiations or if additional funding is made available, the EIF reserves itself the right to revert back to the Applicants included in the reserve list and initiate contractual negotiations with any of them, taking into consideration the results of the evaluation and the ranking formed.

In any phase of the selection process, the 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. Any negotiation of terms and conditions of Operational Agreements by no means entails any obligation for the EIF to enter into such Operational Agreements with the relevant Financial Intermediaries.

Financial Intermediaries which do not receive contributions from the JHF are informed accordingly; the reasons for their Expression of Interest being rejected will be clearly communicated to them upon request.Those Applicants whose Expression of Interest is rejected, shall have the right to submit a written complaint by e-mail and registered mail or professional courier service, to the same address used for the submission of the Expressions of Interest above, which will be dealt within the framework and in accordance with the EIB Group Complaints Mechanism Policy.

8.     Operational Provisions

The Financial Intermediaries with which Operational Agreements will be eventually signed shall be required to comply with 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 defined in the relevant Operational Agreements.

[1] SOP IEC approved by the European Commission Decision C (2007) 3472 of 12 July 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), as amended from time to time.

[3] Funding Agreement approved by Government Decision 514/2008 published in Monitorul Official No. 445 / 12 June 2008, as amended or substituted from time to time.

[4] Commission Regulation (EC) No 1828/2006 of 8 December 2006 setting out rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and of Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Regional Development Fund (Official Journal of the European Union L371 of 27.12.2006), as amended from time to time, including by Commission Regulation (EC) No 846/2009 of 1 September 2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 1828/2006 setting out rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and of Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Regional Development Fund (Official Journal of the European Union L250 of 23.09.2009).


 
 

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