>@EIB/To be defined

New credit line agreements presented officially today by EIB and UniCredit Bulbank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 50 million to UniCredit Bulbank AD to finance projects promoted by small and medium-sized enterprises and midcap companies in the areas of industry, services and agriculture in Bulgaria.

The new credit line agreements were presented officially today by Mihai Tănăsescu, the Vice-President of the EIB, Levon Hampartzoumian, Chief Executive Officer of UniCredit Bulbank AD and Andrea Casini, Chief Operating Officer of UniCredit Bulbank.

Mr Mihai Tanasescu, EIB Vice-President stated: “I very much welcome the fact that EIB funds will improve the access of SMEs and midcap companies active in the industry, services and agriculture sectors in Bulgaria. The improved access of these companies to long-term finance is vital to the development of the Bulgarian economy in terms of job creation and growth. Together with UniCredit Bulbank, a well-established EIB partner financial institution, the EIB is extending the funds needed to accomplish priority projects fostering the competitiveness and diversification of the Bulgarian economy.”

Levon Hampartzoumian, CEO of UniCredit Bulbank, commented regarding the loan disbursement that providing additional opportunities for small and medium-sized companies on preferential terms is crucial for developing the Bulgarian economy through innovation and increased business competitiveness.

The European Investment Bank is extending EUR 100 million in total to UniCredit Bulbank for financing small and medium-sized enterprises. The credit facility will be utilised in two tranches of EUR 50 million each this and next year. The maximum amount of financing for one enterprise is EUR 12.5 million and the term for repayment of the loan ranges from 2 to 12 years.

This intermediated loan 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 in order to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis. The funds will support growth by enhancing long-term competitiveness through the increased availability of long-term credit.

This credit line is a continuation of the EIB’s excellent cooperation with UniCredit Bulbank. In the past, the EIB has provided six other intermediated loans to this financial intermediary, bringing the amount of EIB credit lines granted to UniCredit Bulbank to EUR 200 million. The previous credit lines have been successfully allocated to Bulgarian SMEs, which have benefited from improved interest rates and longer lending maturities.