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Juncker Plan: Additional EUR 100 million for Croatian SMEs

    Date: 04 July 2017

The European Investment Fund (EIF), Erste&Steiermärkische Bank d.d. and Erste&Steiermärkische S-Leasing (together - Erste) have signed a guarantee agreement that will allow Erste to provide EUR 100 million of loans and leases to innovative small and medium-sized companies in Croatia.

The agreement was signed under the European Commission’s InnovFin initiative, backed by the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. The agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called "Juncker Plan".

Speaking at the signature event in Zagreb, EIF Director, Alessandro Tappi, commented: “We are delighted to be signing this InnovFin SME guarantee agreement with Erste, one of the largest banking groups in Croatia. Its well-established distribution network combined with good market position and SME lending expertise can enable good deployment of InnovFin. As a result, the new deal will play a role in helping companies to access this EU backed finance in order to innovate in the local market.”

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "I am delighted that today's agreement will enable small and medium-sized companies in Croatia to access the financing they need to innovate, grow their operations and create jobs—all important aims of the Investment Plan For Europe. SMEs are the backbone of the economy and the drivers of new technologies and new opportunities. Thanks to the EFSI, we are working to ensure that these companies have the chance to succeed in Croatia and across Europe."

Commenting on the operation, Boris Centner, Erste Bank Management Board Member:  “Considering that small and medium-sized companies are the drivers of economic growth, and one of the most important segments of our business strategy, it is our great pleasure to cooperate with the European Investment Fund on the InnovFin guarantee instrument for small and medium-sized companies. The guarantee contract will allow us to offer EUR 100m of loans to innovative entrepreneurs with better terms, offer them support in financing and applying sustainable production investments and ensure increased availability of financial resources”.

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 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 EFSI is available here.

About Erste & Steiermärkische Bank and Erste & Steiermärkische S-Leasing

Erste&Steirmärkische Bank d.d., Rijeka has been operating under this name since 2003, following the merger of Rijecka banka d.d., Rijeka and Erste&Steirmärkische Bank d.d., Zagreb. Today, Erste&Steirmärkische Bank d.d., commonly referred to as Erste Bank Croatia, has a network of 132 branches; 13 commercial centers, 8 SME and 9 profit centers for corporate clients and operates a network of 652 ATM’s. Bank had a market share of 14.53% by assets in the end of March 2017. and ranked 3rd on the Croatian market.

Erste&Steirmärkische Bank d.d. is member of Erste Group, which was founded in 1819 as the first Austrian savings bank and today is one of the largest financial services providers in the eastern part of EU.

Erste&Steiermärkische S-Leasing d.o.o. has been founded in 1997 and today employs 84 employees. Its ownership structure consists of 50% Steiermärkische Bank und Sparkassen AG Graz, Austria and 50% Erste&Steiermärkische Bank d.d. Rijeka, Croatia.

Since its establishment 20 years ago, Erste & Steiermärkische S-Leasing d.o.o. has a leading position in Croatia. The company is present in all segments of the economy except real-estate and covers a wide range of leasing objects groups (passenger cars, commercial and heavy vehicles, equipment, machinery and boats).

With its headquarters in Zagreb and 7 branches in all major cities in Croatia (Varaždin, Osijek, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik) it covers the whole country and works in synergy with the branches of Erste&Steiermärkische Bank d.d. Rijeka.

About the Juncker Plan

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

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It provides a first loss guarantee, allowing the EIB to invest in more, often riskier, projects. The EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise more than EUR 209 billion in investments and support over 427,000 SMEs across all 28 Member States. 

About InnovFin

The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility is established under the "EU InnovFin Finance for Innovators" initiative developed under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for research and Innovation. It 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 the EU and EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.

Press contacts: 

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

Erste Bank Group: 
Dario Gabrić,
Danijela Trbović
Tel. +385992371531
E-Mail: pr@erstebank.com

European Commission:
Enda McNamara
Tel.: + 32 (0)2 29 64 976
E-Mail: enda.mcnamara@ec.europa.eu


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