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Slovakia JEREMIE Holding Fund: Call for Expression of Interest to select Financial Intermediaries that will receive resources from the JEREMIE Holding Fund for Slovakia to implement the Portfolio Risk Sharing Loan Financial Instrument

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    Date: 28 July 2015 - 28 August 2015

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Ref.: Call for EoI No. JER-005/4

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Call for Expression of Interest (“EoI”) to select Financial Intermediaries that will receive resources from the JEREMIE Holding Fund for Slovakia to implement the Portfolio Risk Sharing Loan Financial Instrument

Introduction

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 Slovakia is organised through Slovenský záručný a rozvojový fond, s.r.o., a joint stock company incorporated under Slovak law (hereinafter, “SZRF”). The European Investment Fund (hereinafter, “EIF”) contributed to SZRF, in exchange for shares of SZRF, the JEREMIE funds allocated for the JEREMIE Initiative by the Slovak Republic (hereinafter, “SR”), utilising funds made available from the European Regional Development Fund (hereinafter, “ERDF”) and related public expenditure. EIF holds the shares in SZRF in its name, but for the ultimate benefit, and on the account, of SR, with an obligation to return such shares to SR (and/or another entity designated by SR) upon termination of the Agreements (as defined below). SZRF is advised and operated by EIF and they constitute together the JEREMIE Holding Fund (hereinafter, “JHF”).
As part of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Economic Growth (hereinafter, “OP CaEG”)[1], the competent national authorities have 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 (i) the Framework Agreement (hereinafter, “Framework Agreement”) entered into on 23 December 2008 and subsequently amended on 28 April 2010 and on 12 January 2011, between SR and EIF, (ii) the Funding Agreement (hereinafter, “Funding Agreement”) entered into on 28 October 2009, and subsequently amended on 25 May 2010, between the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic and EIF, and (iii) the Holding Fund Agreement (hereinafter, “HF Agreement”), valid and effective on 12 January 2011, between SZRF and EIF (the Framework Agreement, the Funding Agreement and the HF Agreement, hereinafter, collectively the “Agreements”). 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 SR, EIF and SZRF is governed by the Agreements, which define 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 Agreements also provide for an Investment Board established as the supervisory board of SZRF for the purpose of performing certain advisory and strategic functions in relation to the JHF activity (hereinafter, “Investment Board”). EIF, in its capacity as operator of SZRF, acts on the basis of its usual business principles and of an investment strategy and planning for the implementation of the JEREMIE initiative in Slovakia.
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 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 or financial institution duly authorized to carry out lending or leasing activities in the Slovak Republic under the applicable regulatory framework or joint ventures of such credit institutions;
Deadline means 28 August 2015;
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 Portfolio Risk Sharing Loan;
EIB Group The EIB Group consists of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (the EIF);
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;
JHF means SZRF and EIF as its advisor and operator under the Agreements;
Operational Agreement means an agreement entered into between a Financial Intermediary and the 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 the EIF at the sole discretion of the EIF to assess the suitability of the Applicant and/or the proposed Financial Instrument according to the business standards of the EIF and which are listed in the Annex 2;
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;
SZRF means Slovenský záručný a rozvojový fond, s.r.o., managed and operated by EIF under the Agreements.

2.       JEREMIE Holding Fund

 
SZRF shall, in accordance with the Agreements, be operated by the European Investment Fund, 37B avenue J.F.Kennedy, L-2968 Luxembourg ((URL): www.eif.org).
The EIF, which is appointed until the end of 2015, may be substituted in its role as the entity carrying out the JHF activity. In the event of such substitution, SR, or the entity appointed by SR to carry out the JHF activity, will assume the full discretion and responsibility to perform the tasks of the JHF and to implement the Operations in Slovakia, and may take over the financial instruments.
 
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.
The JHF allocation to the Financial Instrument from the Operational Programme “Competitiveness and Economic Growth” for 2007-2013 has not yet been fully determined and shall be made up of amounts that either are or become available, including any additional budget being allocated to the Financial Instrument. As such, no specific initial capital allocation has been set, but will be a function, to the extent possible, of the Expressions of Interest received from Financial Intermediaries.
Financial Intermediaries shall therefore clearly express in their response the specific amount of contribution being applied for.
See below the relevant Annex setting out the Selection Criteria and the description of the Financial Instrument.
 
Financial Instrument Indicative initial capital allocation (millions EUR) Applicable Annexes
Portfolio Risk Sharing Loan  n/a 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 December 2015, at the EIF’s sole discretion, on the basis of additional funds becoming available at JHF level, and on the basis of Expressions of Interest received from Applicants within the Deadline.
During the implementation of the Financial Instrument, and with a view to maximising the efficient use of the resources of the JHF and maximising the impact of the Financial Instrument, EIF shall have sole discretion to allocate any available amounts, including any additional budget being allocated to the Financial Instrument.
To be noted that joint ventures can express their interest as long as (i) each of the joint venture members is a credit institution authorised to carry out business in the Slovak Republic under the applicable regulatory framework, (ii) they indicate/nominate one coordinating entity as a contractual counterpart of JHF for the entire term of the Operational Agreement (in case of selection), and (iii) all members of the joint venture assume joint and several liability for all applicable obligations. Such Applicants are required to submit one, joint Expression of Interest.

4.     Expression of Interest

A template for the Expression of Interest is attached hereto as Annex 1 and can also be found at the following internet address: www.eif.org.  
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 statements regarding situations of exclusion.
Applicants may send questions regarding the Call for EoI or the nature and features of the Financial Instrument to the email info.rbd@eif.org. EIF shall analyse such incoming questions and may publish from time to time the answers in the form of FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document posted in the Call for Expressions of Interest section . EIF reserves the right to update the FAQ document from time to time as and when it regards appropriate.
The Expression of Interest shall be prepared in English.
 
The 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 the 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 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 28 August 2015.
The Deadline applies (i) in case of e-mails to the reception by 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-005/4) and the name of the Applicant and shall be sent to the following address:
Postal Address:
European Investment Fund
Attention: Regional Business Development Unit
37B avenue J.F.Kennedy
L-2968 Luxembourg
LUXEMBOURG
The outer envelope (package) shall indicate the following:
“Expression of Interest – Reference number of the Call (No. JER-005/4) – 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 EIF via e-mail, which shall state the following:
  • Unique proposal identifier (Expression of Interest number);
  • Reference number of the Call for Expression of Interest;
  • 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 will go through the EIF selection process based on the Quality Assessment Criteria, as explained in the attached Explanatory notes relating to the evaluation of the Quality Assessment Criteria (cf. Annex 2, Part II). The selection based on the Quality Assessment Criteria, and the due diligence process if any, follows 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 and/or SZRF 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. Any complaints 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 the EIF anti-fraud policy with the relevant monitoring, reporting, publicity and auditing obligations required by the EU regulations, applicable to ERDF, and by the Agreements. Such obligations are briefly described in the relevant Financial Instrument description documents, and will be defined in the relevant Operational Agreements.

Download annexes
Annex 1.       Expression of Interest (.docx)
Annex 2.       Portfolio Risk Sharing Loan Financial Instrument: Description and Selection Criteria (.docx)
 


[1] Operational Programme approved by European Commission Decision C/2007/5940 on 28 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), as amended from time to time.
[3] 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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