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EIB Group and BAPR provide new financing for SMEs in Sicily

    Date: 18 June 2020
  • The European Investment Fund (EIF, part of the EIB Group) and Banca Agricola Popolare di Ragusa (BAPR) sign agreement to grant new loans to medium-sized businesses on the island
  • BAPR will provide finance totalling €200 million thanks to a guarantee issued by the EIF, backed by the EIB, structural funds via the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE), and the European Union’s COSME programme
  • Over the next three years, around 2 000 businesses will be able to access finance on particularly favourable terms and with long maturities

New loans worth €200 million will be made available to some 2 000 SMEs in Sicily on favourable terms and with long tenors: this is the result of an agreement signed today between Banca Agricola Popolare di Ragusa (BAPR) and the EIB Group (European Investment Fund, EIF, and European Investment Bank Group, EIB).

This operation comes under the “SME Initiative” of the European Union, which is based on EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), made available by the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE), and is being implemented in combination with funds from the European Union’s COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) programme aimed at SMEs, as well as EIF and EIB own resources.

The agreement was signed today between Arturo Schininà, CEO of Banca Agricola Popolare di Ragusa, and Alessandro Tappi, Chief Investment Officer of the EIF.

This is an innovative structured finance project defined as “risk transfer” implemented by combining funds managed at national (or regional) level with resources from the European Union programme, as well as EIF and EIB own resources.

The SME Initiative agreement was created in the form of a synthetic securitisation operation on a portfolio of existing loans, using guarantee funds worth around €22 million to cover any losses, and these ESIF funds were made available by the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE).

BAPR pledges to disburse €200 million worth of new loans to SMEs over the next three years. With an expected average level of €100 000 per operation, 2 000 small businesses in Sicily will be eligible to benefit from new financing on particularly favourable terms and with long maturities.

We are pleased to sign this agreement with Banca Agricola Popolare di Ragusa, a regional financial intermediary committed to supporting local SMEs. The operation will release a sizeable amount of funding from credit guarantee consortia (Confidi), which will thus be made available for onlending to small and medium-sized businesses: that is one of the targets of the SME Initiative in Italy and we are particularly satisfied that such an objective has been achieved”, said Alessandro Tappi, Chief Investment Officer of the EIF.

“We are delighted to enter into this agreement with the EIF today as it will help to consolidate the Bank’s strong presence in Sicily and launch relationships encouraging cooperation with the European Community institutions in support of SMEs and mid-caps. Furthermore, we have decided to free up a portion of the guarantees provided by the Confidi in order to reconstitute their ability to secure additional new credit. This confirms our commitment to reviving growth, employment and entrepreneurship across Sicily at the very time that it is absolutely vital to overcome the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible. In a particularly challenging credit market, we are responding to the clear need to intervene at a systemic level with this innovative operation, which will help to mobilise substantial funding for Sicilian businesses”, stated Saverio Continella, Managing Director of BAPR.

Background information:

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.

Press Contacts:

Maria Cavalieri (in Ragusa),
maria.cavalieri@bapr.it   Tel.: +39 0932-603244 /  Mobile: +39 333 28 53703 Website: www.bapr.it –  Press Office: +3371404589 –  Follow us on Linkedin  linkedin.com/company/banca-agricola-popolare-di-ragusa

EIB Group:
Santarelli (in Rome), m.santarelli@eib.org, Tel.: +39 06-4719426 / Mobile: +39 331 65 95 594
Website: www.eib.org/press - Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org Follow us on Twitter @eif_eu 


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