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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and Swedbank agreements bring EUR 165 million to around 3,000 Baltic businesses

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    Date: 02 June 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Swedbank have signed the first COSME multi-country agreements benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a key pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe which aims to revive investment in strategic projects around Europe.

The COSME agreements will allow Swedbank to provide EUR 165m of loans and leases to around 3,000 small businesses in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania over the next 3 years. EIF will provide Swedbank with guarantees under the COSME programme, backed by the European Commission. The agreements will make it possible for Swedbank to substantially reduce collateral requirements for loans and down-payment requirements for leases, to support additional financing at favourable conditions to SMEs that have limited access to finance.

Commenting on the agreement, European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "In the Baltic States, about 80% of all jobs are provided by the SMEs. It is therefore crucial to create conditions where these enterprises can develop and grow. Today's agreement will provide one key piece of that puzzle, making access to finance much easier for many Baltic SMEs. It is also a great example of regional cooperation facilitated by the EFSI, allowing the participating countries to benefit from greater efficiency and scale."

Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “This is the first EFSI COSME multi-country deal in Europe and brings new financing options to Baltic businesses. By targeting 3 countries with two transactions we can increase access to finance around 3,000 SMEs in the region via our partnership with Swedbank. We are confident that this deal will act as a driver of jobs and growth.”

“We feel very proud that Swedbank becomes the first commercial institution in the Baltics to boost around 3,000 businesses under the COSME programme,” said Priit Perens, Swedbank’s Head of Baltic Banking. “Enterprises that benefit most from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments are fast-growing SMEs that lack collateral to get financing at favourable conditions in order to develop their businesses and increase competitiveness.”

These transactions reflect the EIB Group’s commitment to respond swiftly to calls from Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament for a rapid launch of concrete initiatives under EFSI, accelerating lending and guarantee transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.

About COSME

COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to ease access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise almost EUR 21 billion of loans and more than EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 381,000 SMEs in Europe.

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by May 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) triggered more than €100 billion of investment in Europe.

Find out the latest EFSI figures including a break-down by sector and by country here. For more information see the FAQs.

About the EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment.

About Swedbank
Swedbank is the leading bank in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and is listed as a large cap company on the OMX Nordic Exchange, Stockholm. Swedbank serves 7.2 million private customers and 641 000 corporate and organizational customers. Swedbank’s head office is located in Stockholm, Sweden.

Press contacts:

EIF:
David Yormesor, Tel.: +352 42 66 88 346, e-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

Swedbank
Neve Hõbemägi, Tel: + 3728885334, e-mail: neve.hobemagi@swedbank.ee

European Commission:
Siobhán Millbright, Tel.:+ 32 229 57361, e-mail: Siobhan.millbright@ec.europa.eu

 

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