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EIF extends EGF guarantees to UniCredit for up to €300 million in loans for COVID-19 recovery of Croatian, Bulgarian and Slovak SMEs

  •  
    Date: 05 May 2021
  • EIF guarantees allow UniCredit to offer up to €300 million in more accessible financing for COVID-19 recovery to SMEs in Croatia, Bulgaria and Slovakia
  • The guarantees are being extended under the European Guarantee Fund (EGF), a €25 billion guarantee fund established by the EIB to accelerate the post-COVID recovery of European companies
  • Since December 2020 the EGF has approved nearly half of its planned 2021 financing for SMEs, mid-caps and the public sector

The EIF guarantees stem from the European Guarantee Fund (EGF), a €25 billion guarantee facility set up by the EIB Group in 2020 to accelerate the post-COVID-19 recovery of the European economy, safeguard jobs, and provide much needed liquidity to European SMEs.

Under EGF guarantees, UniCredit will offer loans to SMEs under more favourable terms including reduced interest rates, longer grace periods, lower collateral requirements or extended maturities. The loans will also be available to SMEs operating in the sectors of economy hardest hit by the pandemic and accelerate the recovery of national economies.

Roger Havenith, Deputy Chief Executive of the EIF, said: “The EIF operation with UniCredit is good news for SMEs in Croatia, Slovakia and Bulgaria as it unlocks urgently needed financing for COVID-19 recovery, and the protection of the jobs and livelihoods of European citizens. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EIB Group created the European Guarantee Fund to mobilise up to €200 billion in investments and accelerate the recovery of the European economy. Today, five months after its launch, the EGF is half way to meeting this ambitious goal and I would like to thank UniCredit for contributing and partnering with us in this effort to support European businesses.”

Gianfranco Bisagni, Head of Central Europe at UniCredit said: "We are offering continuous support to businesses through this initiative in order to manage the liquidity issues caused by COVID-19. This new agreement seeks to guarantee cash flow availability to companies, especially SMEs, which are the backbone of the European economy and generally lack access to capital markets. We thus allow them to finance working capital and investment programs, ensuring proper functioning of production and supply chains. At UniCredit, we work with our countries and engage in decisive and concrete measures to be part of the solution, helping companies and the local economies especially in light of the  emergency we are living".

EGF approves nearly half its planned 2021 financing for SMEs, mid-caps and the public sector

The EGF has so far approved €11.7 billion in support of European businesses struggling with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is almost half the fund’s target for 2021. With agreements signed in nearly all of the 22 participating EU countries, including deals with Nordea, Raiffeisen and Banca March, the EGF is currently on track to mobilise up to eight times its volume of €24.4 billion by the end of 2021. Demand for EGF financing is strong, and further approvals and signatures are expected to rapidly bring the EGF well beyond 50% of its target by early summer.

 

Background information:

About the European Investment Fund

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 by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops both 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.

About the European Guarantee Fund

The European Guarantee Fund (EGF) was set up by the EIB Group with contributions from 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 a total of €540 billion to boost those parts of the EU economy that have been hit the worst. Its goal is to ensure that SMEs with sustainable business plans can get the liquidity to overcome COVID-19-related adversities, and that healthy businesses can get the support they need in order to grow.

About the EIB response to COVID-19

To combat the economic impact of this crisis in Europe and as part of the package of measures the EU is deploying to tackle the economic effects of the pandemic, on 23 April the European Council approved the EIB Group’s creation of a €25 billion Pan-European Guarantee Fund (EGF).

The EIB Group is playing a key role in directly combating COVID-19 by supporting EU efforts to halt the spread of the pandemic, find a cure for the illness and develop a vaccine. To this end, the EU bank is prioritising all investments related to the health sector and research and development programmes focusing on this goal.

The EIB’s current project portfolio for supporting both critical healthcare infrastructure and research and development investments in the EU health sector stands at around €6 billion. The EIB and the World Health Organization also recently signed an agreement to drive cooperation between the two institutions and work together to strengthen healthcare systems in the countries most vulnerable to the pandemic. More detailed information on the support offered by the EIB and EIF

About UniCredit

UniCredit is a simple, successful pan-European commercial bank, with a fully plugged in Corporate & Investment Banking division, delivering a unique Western, Central and Eastern European network to its extensive and growing client franchise. Client needs are met with solutions which harness synergies between business divisions: Corporate & Investment Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management. The way in which these solutions are developed and provided is as important as the solutions themselves, which is why everything is based on two core values: ethics and respect.

By focusing on banking that matters, UniCredit offers local and international expertise, providing unparalleled access to market leading products and services in 13 core markets through our European banking network. Leveraging on an international network of representative offices and branches, UniCredit serves clients in another 16 countries worldwide.

 

Press contacts:

EIB Group: 

Croatia:            Tibor Jona, E-mail: t.jona@eib.org, tel.: +352 691 287 052

Bulgaria:          Bruno Hoyer, E-mail: b.hoyer@eib.org, tel.: +352621886056

Slovakia:          Anne-Laure Gaffuri, E-mail: a.gaffuri@eib.org, tel.: +352691284679


Website: Website: www.eib.org/press - Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

Follow us on Twitter @eif_eu 

UniCredit Group: Media Relations

Tel.: + 39 02 886 23 569, email: mediarelations@unicredit.eu

 

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