The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 250 million to the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR - Hrvatska banka za obnovu i razvitak) to finance smaller projects promoted by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), mid-cap companies and municipalities in Croatia.
EIB funds will finance projects of SMEs and medium-sized companies in the areas of industry and services, including tourism, and also support small and medium-scale infrastructure schemes promoted by local authorities. The loan will also co-finance projects in the knowledge and technology-intensive sectors and additional priorities such as energy and environmental protection. A minimum of 70% of the loan amount is envisaged to be allocated to SMEs and mid-cap companies.
EIB Vice-President Anton Rop stated: “Support for the financing of projects implemented by SMEs and mid-cap companies is the core policy objective of the EIB in Croatia, as the SME and mid-cap sector represents the engine of growth and innovation. In its cooperation with HBOR, the EIB ensures that the benefits of it providing loans on favourable terms reach eligible promoters”.
HBOR President Anton Kovačev said: “The loan amount at the same time represents HBOR’s biggest debit but it also confirms the fact that HBOR has gained a considerable reputation with special financial institutions. Abroad we are recognized as a crucial factor in the starting of Croatian economy. We remind that in the year 2012 we approved of credits worth 10,23 billion HRK, which is an increase of 56 percent when compared to 2011. The recently obtained funds will additionally help preserve and even create new jobs, which is the key to starting and further development of the Croatian economy.”
This credit line is being provided under the Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth in Central and South Eastern Europe, which is focused on providing better access to long-term finance for Europe's SMEs to help mitigate the effects of the financial crisis. Those funds will support growth by fostering economic restructuring, consolidation and diversification, as well as enhancing long-term competiveness through the increased availability of long-term credit.
This loan represents a continuation of the very fruitful cooperation between the EIB and HBOR. Including the current loan, the EIB has already granted credit lines to HBOR totalling some EUR 1.1 billion. Previous loans have either been successfully disbursed or are in the process of allocation to final beneficiaries.