EIB continues to support smaller projects through SKB in Slovenia
The EIB and SKB have signed a contract to ensure long-term funding in the amount of EUR 75 million. This will be used to finance SMEs, midcap companies and municipalities in Slovenia. Both financial institutions are confident of the Slovenian economy’s ability to generate high-quality investment projects and they wish to contribute to economic development and growth with fresh resources.
On Monday, 19 November 2012, the contract for the acquisition of the second tranche of resources, in the same amount as the first, i.e. EUR 75 million, was signed by Mr Gerald Lacaze, CEO of SKB, and Mr Anton Rop, EIB Vice-President. This time the funds secured are being made available to independent entrepreneurs, SMEs and midcap companies with fewer than 250 employees. In the public sector, the resources are meant for investments in the areas of energy, the environment and the knowledge economy. Independent medium-sized companies with at least 250 and no more than 3 000 employees are also eligible to receive these funds.
SMEs and midcaps account for 99% of all firms and employ 76% of all workers in the European Union. They are the main driver of economic growth, innovation, employment and social inclusion in all EU countries, including Slovenia.
EIB Vice-President Anton Rop commented: “EIB funds will support projects contributing to growth and development that are implemented by SMEs and midcap companies. These represent the backbone of the economy: they create a significant amount of employment, particularly new job opportunities, and generate a substantial portion of GDP in Slovenia. This loan is the first EIB operation under the Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth in Central and South Eastern Europe, which is focused on providing better access to long-term finance for Europe's SMEs to help mitigate the effects of the financial crisis. The funds will support growth by fostering economic restructuring, consolidation and diversification, as well as enhancing long-term competitiveness by increasing the availability of long-term credit. To improve SMEs’ access to long-term financing, the EIB is joining forces with well established financing institutions, like the SKB, that know the local market and have SMEs, midcap companies and municipalities as their customers.”
When signing the contract with the EIB, Gerald Lacaze, CEO of SKB, said: “The SKB Group, to which SKB Bank and SKB Leasing belong, will continue to promote high-quality investments in today’s challenging economic conditions. As part of one of the largest European financial services groups, Société Générale Group, whose business is based on a universal banking model, SKB also strives to combine financial solidity with a strategy of sustainable development. In addition to providing quality banking products and services at competitive prices, maintaining strict control of risks and costs, respecting confidentiality and adapting to the new regulatory requirements under Basel III, SKB is committed to further consolidating the partnership developed with its customers while ensuring sufficient capital funding for quality projects in the Slovenian economy.
SKB Group has worked with the European Investment Bank in the field of financing SMEs, midcap companies and municipalities since autumn 2009, when SKB obtained the first instalment of the EIB funds in the amount of EUR 75 million. With these funds SKB Bank and SKB Leasing have in the past three years financed 220 investment projects in Slovenia. 62% of these funds went to the projects of SMEs, 26% to midcap companies' projects and 12% to projects in the public sector in the fields of energy efficiency and environmental protection. It should be noted that one third of these funds was dedicated to financing production-oriented companies, with scientific and technical development projects accounting for a significant share. Funds in the amount of EUR 75 million received from the EIB in 2009 were channelled into the investment projects of SMEs, midcap companies and municipalities in all Slovenian regions.