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EUR 90 million of finance for Maltese businesses via the EIB Group-EC SME Initiative

    Date: 13 July 2018

The EIB Group (EIB and EIF) has signed an agreement with the Government of Malta and the European Commission to increase financing available under the SME Initiative in Malta. The SME Initiative increase was signed today in Valletta by EIF Director Hubert Cottogni, EIB Head of Division Anna Fusari, Hon. Dr. Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue, and Paul Zahra, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality.

The initial SME Initiative agreement in Malta has allowed Bank of Valletta and BNF Bank to deliver already approximately EUR 60 million of new SME financing across the country within less than 3 years. Due to the successful uptake of this initial agreement, the Maltese authorities, the EIB Group and the EC have decided to add additional resources to this initiative. This increase will trigger additional SMEs financing for an amount of EUR 28 million, resulting in more SMEs benefiting from European resources on advantageous terms, such as reduced interest rates and improved collateral requirements, bringing the total SME financing to around EUR 90 million.

Malta has initially contributed an amount of EUR 15 million from its European Regional Development Fund envelope to this EU initiative and, with this new agreement, the funding will increase to EUR 22 million. The EUR 22 million will be leveraged with commercial lending through a risk-sharing mechanism. The SME Initiative entails the combined use of European Structural and Investment Funds, the Horizon 2020 programme and EIB group funds.

Commenting on the increase of the SME Initiative in Malta, EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am delighted with the very positive results of the SME Initiative in Malta for Maltese SMEs. Both local banks have already managed EUR 60 million of SME financing to help companies over the last 3 years. I am convinced that the additional finance will be instrumental in supporting more jobs and growth, via the combination of European Structural and Investment Funds, EU Horizon 2020 and EIB Group resources.”

The Director of the EIB Lending Department Miguel Morgado said: “The EIB Group is fully committed to further support the rolling out of the SME Initiative and we are pleased together with the Maltese authorities to be announcing the increase of the resources available under this scheme. With today’s signature, we expect that around 300 additional Maltese SMEs will receive long term financing at attractive conditions. We are confident that this agreement will deliver lasting benefits to Maltese businesses.”

Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia said:  “I am delighted that in view of the uptake of loans guaranteed by the SME Initiative which has led to the full absorption of the original allocation of EUR 15 million of funds, another EUR 7 million is to be made available.

“This top-up to the SME Initiative will bring the total amount of ERDF money invested to EUR 22 million, and will create a portfolio of around EUR 90 million in available assistance to SMEs and micro-enterprises in Malta.”

Commenting on the signature, Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy said: "I welcome Malta's decision to increase the available financing under its SME initiative programme. This is a smart move that will directly benefit Maltese small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs; it will give them the financial boost they need to turn their ideas into concrete projects or expand beyond their local markets."

About EIF

The European Investment Fund's (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. 

Press Contact

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

European Commission Press Officer: Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr
Tel.: +32 229 56169


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