The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Unions financing institution, is giving fresh support to leasing finance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) investment projects in Italy through four global loans of a total value of EUR 250 million.

Beneficiary banks are Banca Popolare Commercio e Industria Scrl (EUR 25 million) and Banca Popolare dellEmilia Romagna Scrl (EUR 25 million), which will on-lend the funds to their leasing joint-venture company, ABF Leasing SpA. Two more loans of a EUR 100 million each have been advanced to Banca Popolare di Bergamo-Credito Varesino Scrl and Credito Emiliano SpA, for on-lending, respectively, to their leasing subsidiaries BPB Leasing SpA, Esaleasing SpA, and Credemleasing SpA.

These four loans will be directed to the financing of leasing contracts of SMEs in industry, tourism and services.. Leasing is the main source of external financing for SMEs in Italy. It is estimated to account for about 40% of investment financing by companies with less than 100 employees and 21% for those with up to 500 employees. 

With these loans, the total amount of EIB lending in favour of SMEs through the Italian leasing sector since 1998 amounts to approximately EUR 2.7 billion.

The global loan is a financing instrument under which the EIB makes funds available on a long-term basis to a local intermediary, for on-lending in the form of smaller credits in support of small and medium-scale ventures. The Bank has established an extensive network of some 130 active intermediaries for global loans to SMEs, covering the entire Union, of which about 35 are Italy-based.