France: EUR 120m for SMEs
- Release date: 21 March 2012
- Reference: 2012-042-EN
To provide support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their investment and development projects is the purpose of the finance contract signed today by Crédit Mutuel ARKEA’s Chairman Jean-Pierre Denis and European Investment Bank Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive.
This EUR 120m loan will enable, in a very practical way, several hundred SME projects to be financed in the key sectors of agriculture, industry and services, both in those areas where Crédit Mutuel ARKEA is traditionally established (Brittany, the South West and the Massif Central) as well as elsewhere throughout France via the Group’s companies and institutions banking subsidiary, ARKEA Banque Entreprises et Institutionnels.
“I am very pleased to be signing this finance contract with Crédit Mutuel ARKEA in such a crucial area as access to finance for SMEs”, said EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive at the signing ceremony. “We are united by this desire to act effectively and as closely as possible to entrepreneurs. Our role is vital, as by contributing to the development of SMEs, we are supporting growth and employment”.
This financing operation is particularly important at a time when SMEs have been weakened by the economic situation and are finding it hard to secure finance. Their role is crucial to the economy: they account for more than two thirds of jobs in the private sector in France, as well as elsewhere in Europe, and their growth is stronger than that of large companies. This financing operation also underlines the excellent historic partnership that has been established between the EIB and Crédit Mutuel ARKEA and has seen 15 loans for SMEs signed since 1991.
Crédit Mutuel ARKEA’s Chairman Jean-Pierre Denis commented: “SMEs are one of Crédit Mutuel ARKEA’s top priorities, as is shown by the growth in our lending to this segment of the market over a number of years (+12% in 2011 alone). The new agreement entered into with the European Investment Bank will make it possible to increase the financial resources earmarked by our Group for supporting SMEs in their development projects, fully in line with our position as a high street bank, serving local customers.”
In accordance with its mandate, which is firmly focused on supporting the real economy, backing investment by SMEs is one of the EIB’s top priorities. In France, this objective was reflected by the assistance given to over 7 500 SMEs a year between 2009 and 2011, in the form of loans totalling around EUR 950m each year. Throughout Europe as a whole, the finance provided by the EIB to SMEs amounted to EUR 13bn in 2011: in other words, more than 120 000 European SMEs were therefore able to receive support from the EIB.