The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed with UniCredit Bank a loan agreement for EUR 50 million, marking the first financing deal with a local commercial bank to fall under the framework of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in Romania.
UniCredit Bank will use the loan to finance innovative - by InnovFin criteria(1) - or riskier projects by SMEs, Mid-Caps, start-ups and companies promoting employment in general and jobs for the young people in particular. UniCredit Bank thus becomes the first Romanian commercial bank to benefit from the support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financial pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as “Juncker Plan”.
EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell said: “The European Investment Bank activity in Romania is gaining traction. We are very happy to team up with UniCredit Bank, a long-standing local partner of the EIB Group, in our strong commitment for the growth of the local economy under the framework of the “Juncker Plan”. That comes on top of our traditional financing activities and will give an additional boost to job-creation in this important EU country, by providing long-term, affordable financing to innovative SMEs and start-ups”.
European Commissioner Corina Crețu, responsible for regional policy, commented: "Small businesses play a crucial role in the country’s economy: they bring innovative products to the market and provide jobs to local communities. Better access to finance is the fuel they need to drive the economy forward and the European Fund for Strategic Investments, along with cohesion funds, is precisely that fuel. The agreement signed between the European Investment Bank and UniCredit will provide a boost of €50 million to around 100 SMEs across the country. I am happy and proud to see the Juncker Plan working for Romania's growth”.
UniCredit Bank CEO, Rasvan Radu said: “UniCredit Bank is firmly committed in financing the real Romanian economy. In this context, the new loan agreement and our strong commitment in actively supporting our clients’ investments will allow us to further facilitate the development of SMEs, Mid-Caps, start-ups and innovative companies in Romania across different economic sectors, providing easier access to finance at better pricing. A special focus will be in improving access to loan finance for innovative projects compliant to <<InnovFin EU Finance for Innovators>> initiative backed by Horizon 2020”.
According to the European Commission findings (2), Romanian SMEs account for 99.7% of enterprises in Romania and provide about two thirds of employment: roughly 2.6 million persons. SMEs in Romania bring about 50% of the total value added to the economy: EUR 29.8 billion.
UniCredit Bank has been a longstanding partner of the EIB Group in Romania since 2001, when the first contract was signed.
(1) "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" is a joint initiative launched by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) in cooperation with the European Commission under Horizon 2020. InnovFin aims to facilitate and accelerate access to finance for innovative businesses and other innovative entities in Europe.
(2) EU Small Business Act country factsheet 2016 – Romania
See also for more information: http://ec.europa.eu/small-business/index_en.htm
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. In 2016 alone, the Bank made available nearly EUR 1 billion in loans for Romanian projects.
About The Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan for Europe 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 showing results.
The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise EUR 241 billion in investments and support around 460,000 SMEs across all 28 Member States (Data as of 18/10/2017). On 13 September, the European Parliament and Member States came to an agreement in principle on the extension and strengthening of the EFSI. This agreement extends the EFSI's duration as well as increases its financial capacity.
About UniCredit Bank
UniCredit Bank is part of UniCredit, a simple, successful pan-European commercial bank, with a fully plugged-in CIB, delivering a unique Western, Central and Eastern European network to its extensive client franchise of 25 million clients.
The Group is present in Romania through: UniCredit Bank, UniCredit Consumer Financing, UniCredit Leasing Corporation, UniCredit Insurance Broker, UniCredit Leasing Fleet Management, and UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions.
6 November 2017