EIB, Banca Popolare di Vicenza and SACE: EUR 100m for enterprise growth and development
The European Investment Bank (EIB), Banca Popolare di Vicenza and SACE have together arranged a €100 million credit line designed to foster the international competitiveness of SMEs and mid-caps in the industry, agriculture, tourism and service sectors.
This is the first instalment of an EIB loan of up €200 million to Banca Popolare di Vicenza carrying SACE’s guarantee, which can now be onlent to small businesses to finance growth projects in external markets.
At least 70% of the funding will serve to finance investment by SMEs (firms with up to 250 employees) in tangible and intangible assets as well as the working capital requirements relating to their normal productive activity. The remainder will go to projects carried out by mid-caps (firms with between 250 and 3 000 employees).
The agreement testifies to the effective synergies between the three institutions in support of the real economy, reinforcing their long-standing cooperation: Banca Popolare di Vicenza has signed four previous loan contracts with the EIB and has an agreement with SACE in the pipeline for financing the globalisation activities of small businesses.
“With this operation, the EIB is meeting the twofold objective of developing its cooperation with Banca Popolare di Vicenza, which is always very attentive to the needs of the local business community and uses EIB funds effectively, while at the same time strengthening its ties SACE. This will create synergies between local institutions and economic actors to the benefit of small firms – the undisputed drivers of growth and employment in the region’’, said Romualdo Massa Bernucci, Director of the EIB’s Adriatic Sea Department.
Banca Popolare di Vicenza’s Managing Director, Samuele Sorato, commented: “This new agreement with the EIB and SACE will add to the already substantial support that we provide for the growth of small and medium-sized firms – undoubtedly our country’s most important productive resource. In 2012 our bank assisted the real economy with some €3 billion worth of new disbursements, three quarters of which went to small businesses”.
“Relaunching the real economy, which has become the country’s number one priority, inevitably begins with strengthening our businesses’ investment capacity” said Alessandra Ricci, Director of SACE’s Corporate and Investment Finance Division. “With this agreement we are combining SACE’s risk assumption expertise with Banca Popolare di Vicenza’s distributive capacity, so facilitating firms’ access to the substantial funding made available by the EIB.”
The European Investment Bank supports the strategic and policy objectives of the European Union by granting long-term loans for economically viable investment projects. The EIB’s shareholders are the 28 EU Member States. Italy is one of the four leading shareholders, along with the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
With over €46 billion worth of assets, around 5 500 employees and 690 sales points (subsidiaries, financial businesses and private outlets), Gruppo Banca Popolare di Vicenza is Italy’s ninth biggest banking group. Founded in Vicenza in 1866 as the first people’s bank in the Veneto Region, the institution is strongly rooted in north east Italy but also has a substantial presence in central Italy and, along with Banca Nuova, Sicily and Calabria.
SACE provides export credit services, credit insurance, overseas investment protection, financial and other guarantees and factoring. With €70 billion worth of operations insured in 189 countries, the SACE Group underpins the competitiveness of firms in Italy and abroad, ensuring more stable cash flows and transforming companies’ insolvency risks into development opportunities.