The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banca Popolare Pugliese, assisted by Banca Akros, have signed an agreement under the European Commission’s InnovFin initiative, backed by the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, to provide EUR 80 million in financing to innovative Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps over the next two years. This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”.
EIF is providing a guarantee that will enable Banca Popolare Pugliese to support innovative SMEs and mid-caps. The transaction is expected to generate a portfolio of up to EUR 80 million of bank loans that will benefit over 300 businesses, mainly in southern Italy.
European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Investment Plan has already proven to be a success and Italy is amongst the Plan’s top beneficiaries. I am delighted that, with today’s agreement, even more Italian small and medium-sized businesses will gain access to the finance they need to innovate, grow, hire new employees and expand their activities.”
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, commented: “I am very pleased to be announcing this new transaction with Banca Popolare Pugliese under EFSI. This agreement will be instrumental in helping companies to access additional EU-backed finance in order to innovate and grow.”
Vito Antonio Primiceri, President of Banca Popolare Pugliese added: “Thanks to the InnovFin SME Guarantee Agreement, our Bank enriches the range of financial tools available to support SMEs, with particular attention to those companies able to innovate their processes and their products”.
About the Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”, is one of the European Commission’s top priorities. It focuses on boosting investments to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It provides a first loss guarantee, allowing the EIB to invest in more, often riskier, projects. The EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise more than EUR 183 billion in investments and support over 425,000 SMEs across all 28 Member States.
In September 2016, President Juncker proposed to extend the EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths.
Source: The European Commission