The European Investment Fund (EIF) will provide a guarantee to Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ) for a EUR 25 million portfolio of new loans to innovative small and medium-sized and small mid-cap businesses.
The EIF guarantee was made possible by the Investment Plan for Europe (the Juncker Plan), under the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility, set up between the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) group, and the European Commission.
The InnovFin guarantee enables innovative SMEs and small mid-cap companies to benefit from more favourable financing terms than those currently available on the banking market in Croatia. Thus, loans included under the InnovFin portfolio will enable SME businesses to expand, innovate and create new jobs.
European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, said: "I welcome this new agreement supported by the Juncker Plan and Horizon 2020 in Croatia. It means fresh financing for Croatian innovative small and medium businesses, and this is often exactly what they need to launch new products, integrate innovative processes, create new jobs and expand beyond their local markets
Dario Scannapieco, Vice President of the EIB and Chairman of the EIF Board of Directors said: “Support for innovation and SMEs have been among top priorities for EIF and the EIB group. Innovation and SMEs are crucial for Croatia and the European Union as we work to increase and maintain competitiveness on local and global markets, create jobs and create conditions for sustainable economic development. We are happy to have found a reliable local partner in PBZ for such an important task.”
Dinko Lucić, President of the Management Board of PBZ said: "For many years Privredna banka Zagreb has been very active in designing and supporting programmes focused on the development of SME companies and strives to contribute more to stronger growth of small and medium-sized companies in the country. The Bank has proved its commitment by participating in the COSME programme and now in InnovFin, through which innovative SME clients will get easier access to finance and will be provided with more affordable loans. "
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 the EFSI is available here.
Privredna banka Zagreb d.d. (PBZ), a member of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, is the second largest Bank in Croatia, with more than 1.6 million customers and the most extensive network of 192 branches. On top of its core banking services the PBZ Group offers a diverse range of specialised services including credit card services, leasing, real estate business and fund management.
The European Commission and the EIB Group launched InnovFin - EU Finance for Innovators programme in 2014 to offer a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services and help innovative firms access finance more easily across Europe and beyond. More information is available here.
About the Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan for Europe, (the Juncker Plan) is one of the EU's key actions to boost investment in Europe, thereby creating jobs and fostering growth. To this end, smarter use will be made of new and existing financial resources. The EIB Group is playing a vital role in this investment plan.
With guarantees from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF) are able to take on a higher share of the risk in projects, encouraging private investors to participate in these projects. EFSI was initially intended to mobilise investment of EUR 315 billion throughout the EU over a period of three years until mid-2018.
In December 2017, the European Parliament and Member States reached an agreement to extend the duration of EFSI to 2020, with the aim of reaching EUR 500 billion of additional investments by then. In addition to EFSI, the new EIAH advisory platform helps public and private sector project promoters to structure investment projects more professionally. The Investment Plan is also creating a more investment-friendly environment in the EU.
In November 2018, the Juncker Plan had already mobilised EUR 360 billion of additional investments, including over EUR 1 billion in Croatia, with 850 000 small and medium businesses set to benefit from improved access to finance.
7 December 2018