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©imedia/ To be defined

EIB President Werner Hoyer and Vice-Presidents Dario Scannapieco and Wilhelm Molterer welcomed to Luxembourg the CEO of the UniCredit banking group, Federico Ghizzoni. The meeting featured an extensive examination of the relations and ongoing activities between the EIB and UniCredit to finance Europe’s economy in all 22 countries where the Italian banking group is active.

Specifically with regard to Italy, both parties expressed their satisfaction with the agreement recently signed, which provides for the EIB to make available EUR 400 million to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Italy. The group’s leasing company UniCredit Leasing has been entrusted with the assessment, selection and disbursement of the loans.

UniCredit is one of the EIB’s leading banking partners in Europe. This long-standing cooperation is centred on (i) loans for SMEs and (ii) operations targeting mid-caps, large corporates, the renewable energy sector, local authorities and infrastructure. The co-financing activities concern Italy, Germany and Austria and also extend via UniCredit’s subsidiaries to a number of countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe, including some that have recently joined the European Union and other Candidate and Potential Candidate countries.

The new loan for Italian SMEs is aimed at companies with up to 250 employees. New and ongoing projects will be eligible for financing. The loan, which can cover up to 100% of the investment (a maximum of EUR 12.5 million per project), is earmarked for the purchase, construction, extension and restructuring of buildings; the acquisition of plant, equipment, vehicles or machinery; for expenses, incidental costs and project-related intangible assets, including research, development and innovation costs; and for permanent working capital requirements linked to operations.

Projects by SMEs active in all manufacturing sectors are eligible for financing: agriculture, craft industry, industry, commerce, tourism and services. A percentage will be reserved for firms active in southern Italy, a region particularly badly affected by the current economic downturn.

This loan strengthens the relationship of cooperation between the EIB and UniCredit in support of SMEs in Italy. Thanks to this cooperation more than five thousand SMEs have received finance totalling EUR 1 billion via UniCredit Leasing over the past three years.