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Eiffel Investment Group launches Eiffel Croissance Directe - a debt fund supporting French growth SMEs

    Date: 08 September 2017

EIF supported corporate finance specialist - Eiffel Investment Group, announced the official launch of Eiffel Croissance Directe today. The announcement was made in the presence of Benjamin Griveaux, Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, and Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), along with the Directors General of AG2R LA MONDIALE and BRED, who all participated in setting up this innovative tool for financing growth SMEs.

The current commitment of EUR 115 million for SMEs is expected to be increased to EUR 300 million in 2018.In the days running up to the official launch, the fund already financed five French SMEs for amounts ranging from EUR 1 million to EUR 5million. It aims to carry out up to 100 similar operations in the next few years.

The cornerstone investor is AG2R LA MONDIALE, which has committed EUR 100 million. BRED is also a partner in the fund. For its launch, the EIB Group is providing an initial guarantee of EUR 50m via its subsidiary the European Investment Fund (EIF). EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle stressed that: “this new fund is the fruit of an unprecedented partnership between the French public authorities, the private sector and the European Union”.

We are particularly proud of this fund, whose first developments are very encouraging” said Fabrice Dumonteil, CEO of Eiffel Investment Group. “The feedback from companies is highly positive and the first operations are helping to fuel this enthusiasm”.

Designed to complement existing financing facilities, this tool is marked by its operational flexibility and speed, which are particularly geared to growth firms with high potential. It offers loans starting at EUR 1 million with maturities of up to ten years, with or without a grace period. It is able to finance intangible investment (recruitment, etc.) and can operate in all economic sectors, as demonstrated by the first loans granted. Whether software, ready-to-wear or service companies, a common feature of the firms financed by the fund is that they create jobs and seek flexible financing solutions tailored to their rapid growth.

Its original sourcing network, which for the most part relies on local work by DIRECCTE Île-de-France's representatives, BRED Banque Populaire's regional divisions and its optimised investment process, means that the Eiffel Croissance Directe fund is able to quickly identify and respond to the financing opportunities it receives. Operational since June 2017, the fund has already received almost 150 investment projects, and made its first investments from July onwards. It hopes to finance up to 100 French SMEs for a target amount of around EUR 300 million.

Eiffel Investment Group's main partner for this fund, AG2R LA MONDIALE, has undertaken to invest EUR 100 million of the EUR 300 million that the management company expects to raise overall. BRED Banque Populaire is a co-investor, participating actively in the identification of borrowers and the implementation of joint bank-fund financing.

A second fund closing is planned for the end of the year.

New Juncker Plan financing

This new fund also benefits from an EU guarantee via the European Investment Fund (EIF), an EIB subsidiary, with a view to facilitating access to financing for innovative companies while also attracting further investors under the European Commission's InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility programme and the Investment Plan for Europe (commonly known as the Juncker Plan). Innovation and supporting companies are EIB Group priorities. The Juncker Plan is continuing to make progress in France, with a current total of 89 operations approved by the EIB Group totalling more than EUR 7 billion in financing. With this EIF transaction, the EIB Group is once again lending its support to Eiffel Investment Group, to which it has provided a total of almost EUR 100 million in financing.

About the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the EU bank, and together with the European Investment Fund (EIF) forms the EIB Group.

Thanks to its reliable expertise and the financial attractiveness of its AAA rating, the EIB Group has doubled the volume of its activities in France since 2012 (reaching EUR 9.3 billion in 2016), not only supporting SMEs and innovation but also financing investment in strategic sectors such as climate action, energy, healthcare, education for young people and training infrastructure.

The activities of the EIF (a subsidiary dedicated to supporting businesses) helped to finance 37 000 SMEs and midcaps in France in 2016, making it possible to preserve 150 000 jobs.

Follow the EIB Group: www.eib.org / www.eif.org - Twitter: @eib

France fact sheet 2016: http://www.eib.org/attachments/press/fiche-france-2017.pdf

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”, is one of Jean-Claude Juncker's top priorities. It focuses on boosting investments in Europe to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing greater visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It enables the EIB to invest in more, often riskier, projects with high added value. EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI so far are expected to mobilise more than EUR 225 billion in investments and support around 445 000 SMEs across all 28 Member States.

General information on InnovFin financial products

Under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Until 2020, “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” is offering a range of customised products which will make it possible to finance the research and innovation (R&I) projects of small, medium-sized and large companies and promoters of research infrastructure.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products are used to support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries.

InnovFin SME Guarantee provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing between EUR 25 000 and EUR 7.5 million, in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative SMEs and small-segment midcaps (up to 499 employees). This facility is being implemented by the EIF and rolled out by financial intermediaries (banks and other financial institutions). Under the SME Guarantee facility, the EIF will cover a portion of the potential losses of the financial intermediaries.

Press contacts:

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


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