The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 70 million for projects mounted by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and municipalities in Bulgaria in the sectors of energy, health, education and social housing infrastructure, as well as for innovative undertakings developing the knowledge-based society. The EIB funds will also support projects in the areas of industry and services, including tourism, and will be coupled with grants from the European Commission (EC) and the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF). The EIB is glad to announce the partnership with major players in the Bulgarian financial sector: Raiffeisenbank and Société Générale Expressbank.
EIB finance totalling EUR 50 million is being provided to Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria EAD and to Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria OOD and comprises:
EUR 26 million loan to Raiffeisenbank for financing public sector investments promoted by Bulgarian municipalities. This loan will be combined with grants under the EC-EIB Municipal Finance Facility (MFF) and grants under the KIDSF-EIB Energy Efficiency Facility (KIDSF EEF). The MFF promotes municipal investments mostly concerning the building, upgrading and refurbishing of small municipal infrastructure and provides for grants of 7.5% of the EIB loan amount for the final beneficiaries. The purpose of the KIDSF EEF is to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in the public sector with grants of up to 20% of the EIB loan;
EUR 10 million loan to Raiffeisenbank for financing SME projects – for the first time without the guarantee of the parent group in the country;
EUR 14 million loan to Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria for financing the leasing projects of SMEs.
The current loan forms a continuation of the successful cooperation with Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria and is the third to be granted by the EIB to this financial institution. The previous two intermediated loans totalled EUR 30 million and were allocated to SME and municipal projects in the sectors of transport, manufacturing and tourism. Total jobs created exceeded 800.
The EIB is a strong partner of the Société Générale Group in the region, mainly in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Greece, Serbia and Romania, and now for the first time in Bulgaria. EIB finance totalling EUR 20 million is being provided to Société Générale Expressbank and to Sogelease Bulgaria OOD and comprises:
- EUR 10 million for Société Générale Expressbank for loans in the fields of environmental protection, rational use of energy/energy savings, infrastructure (including health, education and social housing) and the development of a knowledge-based economy to be carried out by private or public promoters or in any sector of activity to be carried out by SMEs in Bulgaria. This loan will be combined with grants provided by the EC under the MFF;
- EUR 10 million for Sogelease Bulgaria OOD for financing leasing projects. This loan will be blended with the EC SME Finance Facility whereby EU grants support lending to SMEs.
The task of the EIB, the European Union’s financing institution, is to contribute to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States by financing sound investment. Since 1990, the EIB’s financing in Bulgaria has totalled approximately EUR 2.4 billion.
EIB loans to partner financial institutions have been developed as a successful tool for providing long-term funding for financing smaller projects with total costs from EUR 40 000 to EUR 25 million. They take the form of credit lines to financial intermediaries that on-lend EIB funds under their own management, at their own risk and on their own terms. Since 1990, the EIB has provided EUR 265 million, including the current loan, to eight partner financing institutions in Bulgaria under this heading. These loans serve to increase the access of Bulgarian SMEs and municipalities to long-term finance.