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EIF and Raiffeisenbank sign €85 million guarantee agreement to support SMEs during COVID-19 pandemic

    Date: 15 March 2021
  • Raiffeisenbank is the first Bulgarian bank to benefit from the European Guarantee Fund’s support
  • Raiffeisenbank will provide loans with more favourable conditions
  • The European Guarantee Fund is backed by Bulgaria and other EU Member States

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD have signed a guarantee agreement of €85 million to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps in Bulgaria. The guarantee is backed by the European Guarantee Fund.

Under the agreement, companies will be able to access financing, backed by a 70% guarantee provided by the EIF on each new loan up to a maximum amount of €7.5 million per loan until 31 December 2021.

Alain Godard, EIF chief executive, stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic has severe consequences for SMEs across the European Union. The EIB Group and the EU Member States have set up the European Guarantee Fund to mitigate the economic impact on these SMEs and help them to continue their growth and development in the medium to long-term. The first EGF operation in Bulgaria will provide SMEs and small mid-caps with much needed financing under more favourable conditions. We are happy to continue our long-standing partnership with Raiffeisenbank to support the Bulgarian economy during these difficult times.”   

Lilyana Pavlova, EIB vice president, commented: “The first European Guarantee Fund signature with a Bulgarian bank is excellent news for the Bulgarian economy. I want to thank our partners at Raiffeisenbank for reaching this important milestone with us. It comes after a record year when the EIF committed some €328 million in new operations, which is expected to unlock €1.8 billion for SMEs in Bulgaria, and most of this sum will support those struggling under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our financial support is helping to improve people’s lives and sustain jobs, while playing an important role in boosting the economic development of Bulgaria during the pandemic. I assure you that we stand ready to support SMEs to create employment and prosperity across Bulgaria.”

Oliver Rögl, CEO of Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria), said: “Thanks to our excellent cooperation with the EIF, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we have agreed to unlock more than €380 million of fresh capital to support Bulgarian SMEs facing the negative economic effects of the pandemic. Raiffeisenbank is providing a wide range of financial products on more favourable terms.”

Background information:

The European Guarantee Fund (EGF) was set up by Bulgaria and other EU Member States to shield companies suffering from the COVID-19 crisis. Using nearly €25 billion in guarantees, the EGF allows the EIB and the EIF to quickly make loans, guarantees, asset-backed securities, equity and other financial instruments available to mostly small and medium-sized enterprises. The EGF is part of the European Union’s recovery package aiming to provide  €540 billion in total to boost the healthcare sector and the other parts of the EU economy that have been hit the worst.

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, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.

Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) was established in 1994 and is the first green-field investment in the Bulgarian banking sector. Raiffeisenbank is a fully consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) AG. RBI regards Austria, where it is a leading corporate and investment bank, as well as Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. 13 markets in the region are covered by subsidiary banks. Around 46 000 employees serve 16.8 million customers through approximately 2 000 branches, the vast majority of which are based in CEE.

Press contacts:

EIB Group:
Bruno Hoyer, b.hoyer@eib.org, tel.: +352 43 79 83045 / Mobile: +352 621 886 056
Website: www.eib.org/press - Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org
Follow us on Twitter @eif_eu 

Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD:
Bojidar Gyurov,
bojidar.gyurov@raiffeisen.bg, press.pr@raiffeisen.bg, tel.: +359 2 91985 535 


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