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Public relations section
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria), as well as Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria, have signed two agreements in Bulgaria under the European Commission’s COSME programme, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
Thanks to the financial backing of the European Commission, EIF is providing a direct guarantee that will enable Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) to provide EUR 100 million worth of loans and Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria to provide EUR 50 million worth of leases to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through the Investment Plan for Europe, over 2 600 small businesses in Bulgaria will gain access to EUR 150 million worth of finance that would otherwise not have been available.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Today’s agreements are excellent news for Bulgarian small businesses and demonstrates the European Commission’s determination to reach out to small businesses all over Europe with the Investment Plan for Europe. EUR 150 million is a substantial amount of money that will directly help the small businesses in need of financing, thus creating additional jobs and growth in Bulgaria. I encourage all the SMEs to make use of this opportunity.”
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “I am delighted to see EIF continuing its fruitful cooperation with Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria), one of our long-standing partner. The two agreements will allow Bulgarian SMEs currently excluded from access to finance to benefit from loans and leases on advantageous terms, such as reduced collateral requirements.”
Oliver Rögl, CEO of Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria), stated: “Leveraging on our substantial experience in supporting local companies, we are now providing further opportunities to the SMEs thanks to our collaboration with EIF. Prior to the COSME programme, we have signed agreements with EIF for the total amount of approximately EUR 290 million, including the programmes InnovFin and SME initiative.”
The COSME programme offers SMEs improved access to investment and working capital financing and leasing, with reduced collateral requirements. The maximum loan amount is up to EUR 1.5 million. The loan tenor is up to 10 years for investment loans and up to 5 years when it comes to working capital financing.
These transactions in Bulgaria reflect the European Commission’s strong commitment to deliver on one of its top political priorities: boosting jobs, growth and investment across Europe.
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 in EIF's site.
About Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria)
Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD (www.rbb.bg) was established in 1994. The bank is a subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI).
Raiffeisen Bank International 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. 14 markets of the region are covered by subsidiary banks. Additionally, the group comprises numerous other financial service providers, for instance in the fields of leasing, asset management, as well as mergers and acquisitions.
About Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria
Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria EOOD is a universal leasing company, which offers its services via its offices and Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria)’s branch network. Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria is owned by Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) (100%).
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 European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by November 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) had potentially triggered more than EUR 154 billion of investment in Europe.
Building on this success, the European Commission on 14 September 2016 proposed extending EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. Find the latest EFSI figures including a break-down by sector and by country. For more information see the FAQs.
COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to easing access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise almost EUR 21 billion of loans and more than EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 384 000 SMEs in Europe.
Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing.