The European Investment Fund (EIF) and UniCredit Leasing have signed an InnovFin SME guarantee agreement to enhance access to finance to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
The agreement will allow UniCredit Leasing to provide loans and leases on favourable terms to innovative SMEs in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia over the next two years. This agreement is expected to generate a portfolio of EUR 18 million of bank loans and leases. EIF’s guarantee is provided under the “EU InnovFin finance for Innovators” initiative with the financial backing under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “SMEs are crucial drivers of jobs and growth in the Baltic states and Europe generally. It is therefore essential to facilitate their access to the new financing solutions that will enable them to grow and create jobs. I am glad that the Investment Plan for Europe is making it possible for SMEs across the Baltic region to benefit from loans and leases that would otherwise not have been available to them.”
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “UniCredit Leasing benefits from a strong market presence in the entire Baltic region and will therefore be able to ensure that SMEs in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have the opportunity to benefit from financing solutions on advantageous terms. I am confident that this transaction will contribute to create jobs and growth across the Baltic region.”
UniCredit Leasing SIA CEO of the Baltic Region, Jevgenijs Belezjaks, said: “I am proud that UniCredit Leasing in the Baltics sign such agreement to benefit innovative companies in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. This is a step forward in making finance more accessible for innovative projects in Baltic countries for small and medium-sized enterprises. Thanks to the guarantee of the InnovFin program, UniCredit Leasing will be able to provide more lease finance on better terms like finance volume, lower monthly payments, etc.”
This transaction with UniCredit Leasing reflects the EU's commitment to rapidly launch concrete initiatives under EFSI, significantly accelerating lending and the guaranteeing of transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.
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. More information on EIF's work under EFSI is available here.
About UniCredit Leasing
UniCredit Leasing SIA is member of the leading European banking group UniCredit and can be found among the leading market players in Latvia. It benefits from a long-term experience in the area of leasing, stably ranking in the TOP 5 positions in the past few years and with sustainably growing business in the Estonian (established in 2008) and Lithuanian branches (established in 2011).
UniCredit European banking network core markets are Italy, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey. In the Baltics, UniCredit is present through its leasing subsidiary – UniCredit Leasing.
About the Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan focuses on strengthening European investments to create jobs and growth. It does so by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI so far are expected to mobilise over EUR 164 billion in total investments across 28 Member States and to support more than 388 000 SMEs. On 14 September 2016, the European Commission proposed extending EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. Find the latest EFSI figures by sector and by country here. For more info, see the FAQs.
The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility is established under the “EU InnovFin Finance for Innovators” initiative backed by Horizon 2020. It provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between EUR 25 000 and EUR 7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.
European Commission: Enda McNamara
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