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Investment Plan for Europe: First EFSI deals in Slovakia as EIF and ČSOB agree EUR 135 million support for Slovak SMEs

    Date: 26 September 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Československá obchodná banka a.s. (ČSOB) have signed the first two SME guarantee agreements in Slovakia under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is at the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Under the first deal, a COSME guarantee will allow ČSOB to provide EUR 100 million of loans to more than 5,800 small enterprises in Slovakia over the next 3 years. Many of these small SMEs and micro enterprises currently have limited access to finance. EIF will provide ČSOB with a direct guarantee under the COSME programme with financial backing from the European Commission.

The second deal, an InnovFin agreement, enables ČSOB to provide loans to innovative companies in Slovakia over the next 2 years, with the support of a guarantee provided by EIF and backed under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The EU support for innovative Slovakian companies is expected to generate a portfolio of EUR 35 million loans. This deal would not have happen so soon without the Investment Plan for Europe.

Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive Officer, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “We are delighted to be signing our first EFSI agreements in Slovakia with ČSOB, which will benefit Slovakian companies. These two agreements provide a wide range of financing solutions from finance for micro-businesses through to loans for innovative small mid-caps. These are the first SME guarantee agreements we are signing here and we hope more will follow during the Slovakian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.”

European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: I am very proud to be in Bratislava to mark the signing of a deal between the European Investment Fund and ČSOB bank that will provide EUR 135 million in new loans to small and medium sized companies in Slovakia. This contributes to jobs and growth in Slovakia. Nearly 6,000 SMEs and micro-enterprises in Slovakia will be able to access new finance, guaranteed by the Juncker Investment Plan. Investment under the Plan can be combined with other sources of EU funding. The Plan is such a success that we just announced its expansion and doubling its capacity. I encourage SMEs in need of finance for their business ideas to contact the nearest ČSOB starting today.”  

The ČSOB Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Kollár, has highlighted importance of support provided to small and medium-sized enterprises in Slovakia in this connection, as well as non-negligible role of innovations. „It is important for ČSOB that we facilitate access to credits for the companies. Therefore, I am very glad that we, as the first commercial bank in Slovakia, participate with EIF in so called Juncker plan. The EIF guarantees up to 50% reduce the risk margin of the client, and so the financing becomes accessible easier for the companies. And that is the key. Small and medium sized enterprises in Slovakia generate even three quarters of jobs in Slovakia. And at the same time, innovations are big challenge for the companies. Projects with such added value are a must for the companies if they want to succeed in competition. “

ČSOB with its today´s agreement builds on recent cooperation with the EIF within the Competitiveness and Innovations Programme (CIP). It allowed the bank to support more than 3000 business entities with more than 10 000 employees. The volume of granted credits exceeded 107 million eur.

Support under EFSI, including the ČSOB agreements, translates into a quicker positive impact for InnovFin and COSME agreements, leading to further investments, growth and faster economic recovery in Europe.

About 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 (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on EIF's work under the EFSI is available here.

About ČSOB Bank

ČSOB Bank is a part of the Belgian group KBC being its sole shareholder, at the same time. It is one of the biggest banks in Slovakia, and a reliable partner for small and medium sized enterprises and for corporate companies on long-term basis. In addition to the bank, ČSOB Group includes also ČSOB Poisťovňa, ČSOB Leasing, or ČSOB Faktoring. This fact allows the group  to provide complex services to the clients in this area. ČSOB Bank, as the first bank in Slovakia, launched business credits with EIF guarantee  within the Competitiveness and Innovations Programme in 2013. 

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan focuses on strengthening European investments to create jobs and growth. It does so by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects . The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by July 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) triggered more than EUR 115.7 billion of investment in Europe.

Building on this success, the European Commission on 14 September 2016 proposed extending the EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths.

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


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 383,000 SMEs in Europe.Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/.

About InnovFin

The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between EUR 25,000 and EUR 7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility. InnovFin SME Guarantee is part of InnovFin - EU Finance for Innovators, a new range of products to facilitate access to finance for innovation, developed under Horizon 2020.

Press contacts:

EIF: David Yormesor

Tel.: + 352 24 85 81 346, E-Mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

ČSOB: Anna Jamborová

Tel.:+ 421 902 910 111, E-Mail: ajamborova@csob.sk

European Commission: Siobhán Millbright

Tel.:+ 32 (0)2 29 57 36, E-Mail: siobhan.millbright@ec.europa.eu



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