EU Bank to boost EIF capital – Strong support by EIB Group for SMEs in Europe
The European Investment Bank (EIB) stands ready to strengthen significantly its subsidiary, the European Investment Fund (EIF). The EIB’s Board of Directors today endorsed the increase in capacity of the EIF. This will allow the Fund to expand its activities substantially from 2014 onwards. The EIB is the majority shareholder of the Fund. Other shareholders are the European Commission and private and public banks.
The President of the EIB, Werner Hoyer, commented: “The EIF is a powerful tool to help small and medium-sized businesses access finance, using equity and debt financial instruments to overcome existing financing constraints. With its understanding of the market, its wide range of tools and its impressive leverage the EIF is the ideal complement to the business of the EU Bank in fostering growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.”
This boost to the EIF will be based on two pillars: firstly, a capital increase of EUR 1.5bn subscribed capital, including a cash contribution of EUR 560m; and secondly, a mandate through which the EIB will make available up to EUR 4bn in support of additional guarantees to be issued by the EIF over the next 7 years. The EIF’s capital increase is still subject to approval both by the EIB’s Board of Governors and by the EIF’s other shareholders.
The EIB’s Board of Directors also approved further financing support by the Bank for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and mid-cap companies in the European Union. These new loans bring EIB Group support to a total of EUR 23.1 billion for the current year, including EUR 3.4 billion from the European Investment Fund.
President Hoyer stated: “We have achieved more than we had expected this year in terms of supporting European SMEs and mid-caps. The approval of over EUR 23 billion underlines our strong commitment to this sector which is the engine of the European economy and its main provider of jobs.” He added: “Jobs and growth will remain the priority for the EIB Group in the coming year.”
At today’s meeting, the EIB’s Board of Directors approved loans worth up to EUR 1.4 billion for the benefit of SMEs and mid-cap companies in the European Union. Of the loans approved, up to EUR 650 million will go to projects in Italy and up to EUR 325 million to projects in Poland.
The EIB also continues to put strong emphasis on its other priority areas. In the field of strategic infrastructure, the Board approved loans for projects worth up to EUR 3.7 billion to promote strategic infrastructure in Europe. Out of this, up to EUR 1.4 billion were approved for projects in Poland: for example up to EUR 564 million for the S5 Expressway Bydgoszcz-Wroclaw, up to EUR 454 million for the S3 Expressway and up to EUR 268 million for the modernisation of the railway line between Katowice and Krakow. For Italy, up to EUR 700 million were approved for a new motorway for the Milan eastern bypass and for Greece up to EUR 415 million for the renovation and reinforcing of the electricity distribution network.
Moreover, for projects in research, development and innovation (RDI), the Board approved loans for projects worth up to EUR 550 million for the reinforcement of the competitiveness of the European economy.
Projects supporting resource efficiency were approved by the Board for a value of up to EUR 360 million.
The Board of Directors of the European Investment Fund approved 24 new operations on December 16 through which the EIF will continue to support SMEs. These deals represent EIF commitments of EUR 554 million and are expected to leverage EUR 2 billion of capital.