The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, is providing Locat S.p.A. with a EUR 400 million (1) structured financing arranged by Euro Capital Structures Ltd. (ECS). Locat SpA will utilise the proceeds for the financing of leasing projects promoted by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The financing structure represents an innovative solution for the financing of SMEs. It adapts the concept of global loans to provide a wider access to EIB resources for leasing projects and it is EIB's first securitisation under the new Italian securitisation law (Law N° 130 of 30th April 1999).

The loan's main objective is to increase the productivity and competitiveness of SMEs. 

Locat S.p.A. is Italy's largest leasing company and is part of the UniCredito Italiano banking group. ECS is a Dublin based joint-venture of UniCredito Italiano and Fiat specialising in structuring asset-backed financing transactions.

Lease financing is one of the most important sources of external finance for SMEs in Italy, particularly those with less than 100 employees. Hence, leasing makes a considerable contribution to the development of SMEs by easing access to credit, favouring the modernisation of production plants and contributing to the creation of new employment. 

The European Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term lending institution, finances capital investment furthering EU integration, in particular: regional development, trans-European networks in transport, telecoms and energy; industrial competitiveness and integration; SMEs; environmental protection; and energy security. It also operates outside the EU within the framework of the EU's co-operation external policy. Owned by the Member States, the EIB raises its funds on capital markets (AAA issuer). In 2000, the EIB lent some EUR 36 billion, of which EUR 5.6 billion in Italy.

(1) 1 EUR = 1 936.27 ITL, 0.638700 GBP