The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI, the Italian Guarantee Fund for SMEs, have signed a second agreement to provide EUR 3.5 billion worth of financing for Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under the European Commission’s COSME programme. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
This agreement was concluded by Banca del Mezzogiorno – Mediocredito Centrale, the bank that manages the Italian Guarantee Fund for SMEs on behalf of the Ministero dello sviluppo economico, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. EIF is providing a counter-guarantee that will enable Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI to grant EUR 3.5 billion worth of financing to Italian SMEs over the next two years. 55 000 Italian SMEs are expected to benefit by gaining access to finance that would otherwise not have been available to them.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said:
“Italy continues to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the EFSI. Facilitating access to the finance SMEs need to expand is a central pillar of the Investment Plan and our strategy to support jobs and boost growth. I am delighted that today’s agreement will unlock an additional EUR 3.5 billion for thousands of Italian SMEs.”
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said:
“I warmly welcome this second agreement with Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI as it demonstrates that the already existing COSME agreement has reached its full utilisation. We hope to encounter the same success with all our financial intermediaries, in order to be able to support an increasing number of SMEs across Europe. Thanks to this transaction, we will reach out to 55 000 small companies in Italy – an impressive performance.”
Carlo Sappino, Director-General for Incentives to Enterprises of Ministero dello sviluppo economico, said:
“We are very pleased that EIF and Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI are continuing this worthy cooperation under the COSME programme after the significant results yielded in the precedent period. This second agreement underlines the commitment of the Italian Government to support the access to finance of SMEs which are the backbone of the Italian economy.”
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 Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI
Fondo di garanzia per le PMI (the Fund) is the Italian Guarantee Fund for SMEs established by law no. 662/1996 (art. 2, paragraph 100, letter a) “in order to ensure a partial insurance to the loans granted by lenders to small and medium-sized enterprises.” It is managed by Banca del Mezzogiorno – Mediocredito Centrale S.p.A. (BdM–MCC), on behalf of the Ministero dello sviluppo economico, which, in July 2011, won the tender for its management for a period of nine years. The joint venture is made up of BdM–MCC (Poste Italiane Group), MedioCredito Italiano (Intesa Group), MPS Capital Services (MPS Group), Artigiancassa (BNL – BNP Paribas Group) and ICBPI (ICBPI Group).
The Fund is entrusted to a Managing Board (the Board) chaired by seven members: two representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development, one representative of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, one representative of the Department for Development and Economic Cohesion, one representative appointed by the permanent Conference for relations between the State, regions and autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano and two experts on credit and corporate finance. It guarantees any kind of financial operation aimed at supporting firm activity, of any maturity and sectors. The guarantee is backed by a State guarantee that provides zero-risk weight for the amount granted, with considerable improvement for banks’ lending capacity. The guarantee is issued to banks, mutual guarantee societies and other guarantee funds providing a first demand payment guarantee.
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 168 billion in total investments across 28 Member States and to support more than 387 000 SMEs.
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 more than EUR 21 billion of loans and more than EUR 3 billion of venture capital to almost 400 000 SMEs in Europe.
Source: The European Commission