>@EIB/To be defined

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 200 million loan to Caixa Económica Montepio Geral (Montepio) to finance small and medium-sized projects mainly undertaken by SMEs and midcaps. The loan agreement was signed in Lisbon today.

In addition, Montepio will provide another EUR 200 million, so that the total amount made available to SMEs and medium-sized companies will amount to EUR 400 million.

For SMEs in particular, access to credit has become difficult since the beginning of the economic crisis. Even medium-sized companies with up to 3,000 employees (“midcaps”) are faced with major funding challenges. The majority of the loan will therefore serve to finance investments promoted by SMEs and midcaps, but part of it could also be allocated to other entities promoting projects covering mainly energy saving, environmental protection, research and development, and infrastructure.

This loan represents a further step in the EIB’s commitment to supporting small and medium-sized businesses, as accessing credit is vital for SMEs in order to ensure high-quality long standing economic growth and employment creation.

Thanks to its cooperation with Montepio, Portuguese companies in productive sectors may benefit from new finance on favourable terms, with long maturities, flexible disbursement schedules and low interest rates.

Most of the projects eligible for financing will be located in convergence areas in Portugal, contributing also to economic and social cohesion. The EIB funds will be used to finance individual investment projects of up to EUR 25 million in the case of SMEs and up to EUR 50 million in the case of midcaps.

In 2014, the EIB Group provided a record EUR 25.5 billion for small businesses, reaching more than 290 000 companies throughout Europe. In Portugal that year, the EIB signed loan agreements totalling EUR 1 319 million, including EUR 875 million for SMES and Midcaps.