The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the UniCredit Group have signed four new agreements in Milan to provide medium and long-term finance totalling €580 million to Italian businesses in a variety of sectors. This initiative reinforces the fruitful relationship between the EIB and UniCredit and is designed to strengthen the support offered to Italy’s productive sector in order to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis and help kick-start the recovery.
Within the ceiling of €580 million made available by the EIB, four different sectors have been singled out for support. In addition to the finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (€400 million) and midcaps (€50 million), part of the credit line is destined for companies implementing environmental and renewable energy programmes (€100 million). A fourth tranche of €30 million will finance research and development projects selected by the Economic Development Ministry in specific areas under the Industria 2015 initiative.
“Small and medium-sized companies have been hit hardest by the long crisis afflicting Europe and Italy: over the last few months, providing access to credit has therefore become the number-one priority to enable them to keep their businesses afloat with adequate funding. Through these operations the EIB, in cooperation with UniCredit, one of our main Europe-wide partners, is making long-term loans available to Italy’s productive sector at favourable interest rates”, commented Dario Scannapieco, EIB Vice-President with responsibility for operations in Italy, Malta and the Western Balkans.
UniCredit’s CEO Federico Ghizzoni added that “today’s new agreements with the EIB contribute invaluable funding to our constant and robust support for Italy’s small and medium-sized businesses. Our close relations with SMEs and detailed local knowledge mean that we can quickly channel these resources into businesses, so maximising the impact of these investment financing instruments, which are vital to ensuring the competitiveness of Italy’s productive sector”.
The agreements specifically concern:
SMEs (€400 million) and midcaps (€50 million)
The EIB will provide €400 million for Italian SMEs on particularly favourable terms. The funds will be earmarked exclusively for supporting SME investment via UniCredit and UniCredit Leasing. Both new investment and investment already in progress will be eligibIe for loans.
The cost of SME projects may not exceed €25 million. All productive sectors are eligible for loans – agriculture, crafts, industry, commerce, tourism and services. The loans may be used to purchase, construct, extend or renovate buildings, purchase plant, equipment, vehicles or machinery, cover project-related costs, additional charges and intangible assets, including research, development and innovation costs, and provide the working capital that is always needed in connection with operational activities.
The UniCredit Group has undertaken to provide its own resources to beneficiary SMEs, thereby increasing the overall ceiling of the loans made available to Italy’s small businesses.
A further €50 million will support investment by Italy’s midcaps.
Environment (€100 million)
The EU’s bank is providing Italy’s businesses with €100 million for financing small and medium-scale projects in the industrial and sustainable community sectors via UniCredit e UniCredit Leasing, targeting in particular the infrastructure for the delivery of public services in the transport, energy, waste disposal, telecoms, water, sanitation, health, education and social housing sectors – one of the pillars of EIB lending. Project costs may not exceed €25 million.
Industria 2015 (€30 million)
€30 million will serve to cofinance research and development projects selected by the Ministry of Economic Development in different thematic areas (Made in Italy, energy efficiency and sustainable mobility) under the Industria 2015 programme proposed by Confindustria.