Millennium bcp has just launched, jointly with the European Investment Bank (EIB), two business credit lines worth a total of EUR 100 million to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for the first time including micro-credit.

This is the first operation in Portugal in support of SMEs mounted by the EIB in response to the EU Finance Ministers call to assist the business sector at this time of financial crisis. Up to 2011, a total of EUR 30 billion will be made available to SMEs throughout the Union via commercial banks.

These new credit lines are based on two separate finance contracts worth EUR 50 million each: the “Mid-Cap loan” and the “Global Loan”.

The Mid-Cap Loan will target investments of up to EUR 50 million undertaken by medium-sized companies. The aim is to promote medium and long-term capital investment fostering regional development, competitiveness, jobs and environmental protection.

The Global Loan – the fifth contracted by Millennium bcp with the EIB – will focus on SMEs and municipalities, financing investments of up to EUR 25 million. The projects funded – which can include both tangible and intangible investment and the strengthening of a company’s working capital – will have to be centred on energy saving, environmental protection, renewable energies or the knowledge economy. For the first time, this credit line also includes micro-credit, for financing investments of up to EUR 40 000. The SMEs receiving funds under the Global Loan will be informed by Millennium bcp of the advantages brought by the EIB’s involvement.

The finance contracts were signed this morning in Lisbon by Dr Armando Vara, Vice-Chairman of Millennium bcp’s Executive Board of Directors, Dr José João Guilherme, a voting member of Millennium bcp’s Board, and Dr Carlos da Silva Costa, EIB Vice-President with responsibility for operations in Portugal.