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Investment Plan for Europe: European Investment Fund guarantees EUR 2bn in innovation loans provided by Bpifrance

    Date: 13 May 2019

Executive Director of Bpifrance Nicolas Dufourcq and Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund (EIF) Pier Luigi Gilibert today signed a fourth financial guarantee agreement between the two institutions in the presence of Pierre Moscovici (European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs) and Ambroise Fayolle (Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, EIB). 

The EIF, a subsidiary of the EIB Group, will guarantee 50% of the new loans granted by Bpifrance to innovative companies and start-ups. The EIF guarantee under the EU’s Innovfin programme for SMEs will cover EUR 300m in respect of total lending of up to EUR 600m. This guarantee is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which lies at the heart of the Juncker Plan, thus enabling the European Investment Bank to support other, sometimes riskier, projects.

Specifically, the EIF will guarantee:

  • EUR 200m for SME innovation financing (“EIF IL” – Innovation Loan). These loans support SMEs and mid-caps that have recently completed an R&D project by financing the intangible expenditure associated with the industrial and commercial launch of innovations developed (product, process or service) in the form of a subsidised loan made possible through sharing of the risk alongside the EIF.
  • EUR 100m for seed capital financing (“EIF SCL” – Seed Capital Loan). These loans aim to support start-ups in preparing or conducting fund-raising operations by bolstering their liquidity via a development loan and thus assisting them with their development and growth.

These loans are granted to companies that have already approved a project that has an innovative approach, and are embarking on a new stage in their development through an industrial and commercial launch or fund-raising. This therefore represents a continuation of the financing tools offered by Bpifrance to start-ups and SMEs at earlier stages of their development (in particular, via aid for innovation or repayable advances).

This is the fourth guarantee operation signed between the EIF and Bpifrance since 2015. In the first three operations, the EIF guaranteed loans to the tune of EUR 1.4bn. With the new guarantees provided today, in total the EIF has undertaken to cover 50% of the EUR 2bn of loans granted by Bpifrance.

The agreement between the two institutions was signed at the EIB Group’s annual conference “Investing in Europe's future”, which featured opening addresses by Pierre Moscovici and Nicolas Dufourcq.

A number of companies and local authorities were present to validate the importance of the role of the EU and its public bank, the EIB, in financing innovation and environmental transition. Following this conference, a club of partners was formed, bringing together all beneficiaries of loans from the EIB and its subsidiary the EIF, joined in their pride at seeing their investments financed by the EU bank.

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici commented: “With 238 000 start-ups and SMEs benefiting from financing, France is one of the European countries that has been supported the most by the Juncker Plan. I welcome the signature of this fourth agreement between the EIB Group and Bpifrance under the Juncker Plan, which brings to EUR 2bn the total funding available to innovative French businesses eligible for Bpifrance’s support. These new financing operations will underpin growth and job creation across the whole of France.”

Nicolas Dufourcq, Executive Director of Bpifrance, stated: “We are delighted to continue our work, with the EIF’s backing, in supporting innovation financing for SMEs and mid-caps and providing seed capital for start-ups. The clear success of our partnership shows to what extent the EU can play a key role in supporting the emergence of future start-ups and SMEs.” 

Financing innovation is one of the priorities of the EU bank and its subsidiary, the EIF”, said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “Guaranteeing Bpifrance’s loans under the Juncker Plan, as we are doing, enables us to finance greater numbers of riskier projects, in promising sectors for French businesses.”

“This fourth agreement in partnership with Bpifrance illustrates the strength of our relationship and the success of our previous operations”, explained EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert. “We are proud to be able to assist Bpifrance, which is the partner of choice in France for innovative enterprises.”

Note to editors:

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-enterprises and SMEs by helping them to access finance. It designs and implements venture and growth capital operations, as well as guarantee and microfinance instruments specifically targeting this market segment. In this role, the EIF thus fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

About Bpifrance

Bpifrance finances businesses – at every stage of their development – with credit, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance supports them with their innovation projects and on international markets. Bpifrance now also assists them with their export business via a broad range of products. Advisory and university services, networking and an acceleration programme for start-ups, SMEs and midcaps are among the other options offered to businesses.

Thanks to Bpifrance and its 48 regional branches, businesses benefit from a single, efficient local player to meet their challenges.

For more information, visit www.bpifrance.fr; Follow Bpifrance on Twitter: @bpifrance and @BpifrancePresse

About the Juncker Plan

The Investment Plan (also known as the Juncker Plan) aims to strengthen investment across the EU to create jobs and spur growth. It aims to make better use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and bringing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The Investment Plan is already showing results. Projects and finance contracts approved so far under EFSI, which lies at the heart of the Juncker Plan, are expected to mobilise a total of EUR 393bn in investment across the 28 Member States and support some 945 000 SMEs. France has been the Juncker Plan's number one beneficiary country in absolute terms, with EUR 68.2bn of finance unlocked.

About InnovFin

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 providing financial support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and promoters of research infrastructure.

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