The EIB is extending a EUR 40 million loan to Citilease Finansal Kiralma AS, a leasing company owned by Citigroup. The financing supports the EU's policy to foster regional and SME development and will be used exclusively for leases to small and medium-sized enterprises in Turkey.

The loan is an opportunity to further boost the EIB's support for SMEs in the country, which represent the most progressive and fast growing business segment and are the backbone of Turkey's economy. The European Investment Bank has a strong track record of financing SME's and welcomes the opportunity to further strengthen its involvement in this sector in Turkey with an important and well-respected intermediary.

Wolfgang Roth, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, said operations like this will help small businesses in the country obtain better access to much needed medium-term leasing. He underlined that the EIB was pleased to extend its relationship with the Citibank group to Turkey and build on cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe, notably in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

The Turkish leasing market is a rapidly developing and highly competitive sector, with Citilease accounting for an important and growing market share. Its expertise covers a wide range of businesses from construction through manufacturing and transportation to service industries. The loan provided by the EIB, will enable the company to extend the scope of its activities and improve SME access to this expertise as well as to funding on attractive terms.

The EIB supports the development and growth of Turkey's entrepreneurs by facilitating their access to finance. The Bank has committed since 2000 some EUR 1 billion for financing SMEs, which have been disbursed by local banks and leasing companies. Its cumulative financing in Turkey stands at EUR 4 billion and relates to investments in a wide range of economic sectors.