The EIB GROUP (EIB - European Investment Bank- and EIF - European Investment Fund) participates in the first public securitisation of loans to SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) launched by Banco BPI.

The EIB subscribed 15% of the EUR 500 million Douro SME Series I Asset Backed Securities (ABS), issued by the special purpose vehicle SAGRES - Sociedade de Titularização de Créditos, S.A.

The securities are backed by a SME loan portfolio, originated and serviced by Banco BPI and sold to Sagres. The proceeds of the securitisation will provide Banco BPI with substantial long-term funding to continue lending under improved terms to SMEs. It will support their investments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, product development and job creation. This initiative is in line with the EU policy aimed at increasing the growth potential of the European economy.

The issue is tranched into four risk classes (A to D). The first two classes A and B, representing 89% and 5.2% of the issue, respectively, are rated AAA by Fitch Ratings Ltd., Moody's Investor Services Ltd., and Standard & Poor's Rating Services, and will be listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and on Euronext Lisbon. The EIB invested EUR 75 million in class A notes while the EIF guarantees the class B tranche (see The Portuguese government agency IAPMEI Group, through PME Investimentos, guarantees the class C. The securitisation attracted also the participation of Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau, the German development bank.

Philippe Maystadt, EIB's President, noted: This operation will contribute to improve liquidity in the credit market to support medium-long term lending for capital investment by SMEs. Small and medium sized enterprises are crucial agents for the promotion of economic growth, employment and innovation in the EU. For this reason, they are among the core priorities of the EIB Group. The EIB has a long-standing relationship with BPI in support of SMEs. I hope this relationship will continue and lead to new developments, particularly through the use of novel financial instruments and innovative structures.