The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a loan of EUR 25 million to AS Hansapank to part-finance investments undertaken by mid-cap enterprises (less than 3000 employees) throughout the Baltic States. Hansapank itself will on-lend the EIB funds to mid-cap corporates in Estonia and, in Latvia and Lithuania, through its subsidiary banks, Hansabanka and Hansabankas. Investment projects in the sectors of manufacturing, services, energy, environment, research and development as well as innovation dissemination qualify for EIB's funding.

This is the first EIB mid-cap facility in the Baltic States and will improve access of promoters to medium and long-term financial resources. As recourse to new equity or bond issuance is often not an option, the rapid growth of mid-cap companies in the Baltic States continues to require financing in form of bank loans.

The EIB has a well-developed and long-standing relationship with Hansapank, having already provided three global loans, totalling EUR 120 million, in support of investments promoted by small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and private and public entities in eligible sectors. These three global loans were on lent to customers of Hansapank, Hansabanka and Hansabankas through their well-established branch networks in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Vice-President Sauli Niinistö signing on behalf of EIB commented, this new operation builds upon the Bank's successful relationship with the Hansapank Group and will contribute to the EIB's key corporate objective of fostering economic and social cohesion.

Ms. Kristina Siimar, Chief Financial Officer, signing on behalf of Hansapank commented I am pleased with this new operation that represents an interesting development in our relationship with EIB and enhances our possibilities to provide attractive long-term financing to our mid-cap customers.

The EIB, the European Union's long term financing institution, finances economically viable investment projects that contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States. Outside the Union the EIB implements the financial components of agreements concluded under European development aid and cooperation policies. In Estonia, including the operation signed today, the EIB has granted loans amounting to EUR 388 million.

With this new "mid-cap facility, the EIB has a complete array of products to accommodate all types of enterprise, whatever their size: from SMEs up to large corporates. The EIB thus acknowledges the importance of mid-cap companies in regional economic development and safeguarding jobs. Their growth is a crucial factor in Europe's industrial vigour and it is vital to continue supporting these businesses as they develop.