The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group, Ibercaja Banco, S.A. and Ibercaja Leasing y Financiación, S.A. have signed today in Zaragoza a guarantee agreement under the SME Initiative facility in Spain.
The agreement aims to facilitate access to finance for Spanish SMEs by providing a 50% guarantee on the financing granted by Ibercaja and Ibercaja Leasing. Thanks to the guarantee, up to EUR 170 million of SME loans and leases will be made available at favourable conditions, including reduced interest rates, over the next two years. The transaction is expected to benefit around 2,000 SMEs in the Aragón, Andalucía, Extremadura and Madrid regions.
The first operation supported by Ibercaja under the guarantee has already been granted for a loan of EUR 216,000 at a reduced interest rate. Lacor Metal-Antares, S.L. in the manufacturing sector providing leasing solutions for tube bending machines can now broaden its client base and strenghthen its distribution network and product offer, as a result of the Ibercaja guarantee.
The SME Initiative is a joint programme blending support from the European Commission, EIB Group and Member States with a view to stimulate SME financing by providing partial risk cover for SME loan portfolios originated by financial entities. Alongside European Structural and Investment Funds contributed by Member States, the SME Initiative is co-funded through Horizon 2020 resources as well as benefits from EIB Group resources.
Spain was the first country to implement the SME Initiative, committing to contribute an amount of EUR 800 million out of its 2014-2020 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) envelope. Ibercaja is the 9th financial entity joining this highly successful SME Initiative, which has already supported more than 35,000 SMEs including self-employed individuals and micro-enterprises.
EIB Vice-President, Román Escolano said: “The EIB Group is delighted to be announcing this signature with one of our trusted partners in Spain, Ibercaja, under the joint SME Initiative. The efficient use of structural funds helps additional SMEs to access finance, which is crucial for job creation and growth. The support for 35,000 small businesses under the SME Initiative in Spain shows the impact of this partnership in Aragon and across the country.”
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert stated: “The SME initiative is delivering real and impressive results for Spanish businesses. The transaction signed with Ibercaja will allow over 2,000 SMEs to access finance under the SME Initiative facility. The joint EU support will enable Ibercaja to target SMEs in need of finance and contribute to job creation in Spain.”
Víctor Iglesias, Chief Executive of Ibercaja, said: “Facilitating access to finance to SMEs is necessary to help them develop their activity and investment projects. In addition, this helps Ibercaja to meet its strategic objectives, including developing the productive sector and achieving the goal of key growth in this key segment in the Bank’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2017.”
Corina Crețu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy noted: “Spain was the first Member State to sign up for the SME initiative and this pioneering choice paid off. EUR 800 million of Cohesion Policy funding has been invested in this innovative programme, which already supported thousands of small businesses by giving them the funding they need to develop and create jobs, and gave a boost to the Spanish real economy”.
The EUR 800 million contributed by the Kingdom of Spain and the regions concerned is leveraged with commercial lending through a risk-sharing mechanism and is expected to lead to a total financing volume of EUR 5.7 billion. This financial instrument acts as a catalyst for private investment and foster job creation.
EIF is part of the EIB Group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses 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.
About the EIB
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.
Ibercaja is the 8th biggest banking group in Spain with 2,8 mililon clients, 1,248 offices, 5,527 employees and activity of EUR 85,000 million. It has its own financial group and provides leading quality services for its clients.
Source: European Investment Funds