The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing three loans totalling EUR 58 million in Slovenia: a loan to BIA Separations to finance the design, construction and equipping of new RDI facilities, a loan to implement Slovenia's Development Strategy and an intermediated loan to NLB Leasing to finance smaller projects undertaken by Slovenian SMEs and municipalities.

EIB President Philippe Maystadt commented: "The loans signed in Slovenia today will make possible financing of RDI projects through innovative increased risk sharing and improve access to long-term finance for private and public small and medium-sized companies, which are increasingly suffering from the lack of liquidity due to recent economic developments".

The EUR 8 million Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) loan to BIA Separations will finance the design, construction and equipping of the company's new production and RDI facility and research activities concerning the optimisation of purification processes for anti-viral and DNA-based biopharmaceuticals. The RSFF is an innovative financing tool for supporting higher-risk financing for projects in the field of RDI, which broadens the Bank's range of lending products to include operations with a higher risk profile than standard EIB loans.

The EUR 30 million loan to the Public Fund of the Republic of Slovenia for Regional Development and Development of Rural Areas will co-finance projects undertaken by SMEs and municipalities aimed at improving social, economic, transport and environmental infrastructure. The priority projects to be financed will help to reduce economic development disparities in Slovenia.

The intermediated loan of EUR 20 million to NLB Leasing Ljubljana will finance the smaller projects usually carried out by SMEs and local authorities in the fields of industry, infrastructure, energy efficiency and services, including tourism. To improve Slovenian SMEs' and municipalities' access to finance, the EIB is joining forces with well established financing institutions, such as NLB Leasing, that know the local market, have SMEs and municipalities as their customers and have a well developed network of branches. The loan will increase the number of EIB partner financing institutions onlending EIB funds in Slovenia.

Note to editors:

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.

EIB lending activity in Slovenia since 1991 exceeds EUR 3 billion. The EIB's operations in Slovenia cover all major economic sectors, ranging from basic infrastructure, manufacturing and services, including support for small and medium-sized companies via local financial institutions, to promotion of the productive sector, competitiveness and a knowledge-based economy.