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The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU’s financing institution, and ING Belgium have signed an agreement under the InnovFin Midcap Guarantee programme to facilitate and increase lending to innovative companies in Belgium.

With the EIB bringing a guarantee of up to EUR 150 million, ING Belgium will be able to provide finance to innovative companies for a total of EUR 300 million. It will rely upon this programme to increase its lending capacity and to offer new loans to midcap customers undertaking research, development and innovative projects.

This financial instrument is based on risk sharing and aims to foster growth and competitiveness in Europe. It enables the EIB to provide a 50 percent credit risk guarantee to the intermediary financial institution – ING Belgium in this case.

The European Commission is backing the operation under “Horizon 2020”, the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Companies active in the research and development field and with fewer than 3,000 employees can be provided with reliable long-term financing on the best terms. The EIB guarantee will cover up to 50 percent of a loan provided by ING, with a cap of EUR 25 million per project. This will enable midcaps to gain easier access to finance for their innovative projects.

At the signing event, EIB Vice-President Pim Van Ballekom emphasised the strengths of the InnovFin Midcap Guarantee: “Belgium – and Europe as a whole – needs more risk-taking when it comes to investing in innovation. This new instrument gives EIB partners such as ING Belgium the opportunity to strengthen their support to companies more quickly and with more flexibility and to finance overall a broader spectrum of much-needed projects. In creating new ways to finance innovative midcaps and in making it easier for midcaps to access funding, we will foster growth and competitiveness across Europe.”

Erik Van Den Eynden, Head of Midcorporates & Institutionals at ING Bank Belgium, welcomed the agreement with the EIB: “This agreement is totally in line with the Think Forward strategy of ING Belgium. We are glad that the European Investment Bank has given us again the opportunity in supporting us to empower our clients to stay a step ahead by giving them the possibility to invest in innovative research and development projects, even in a challenging economic context. Our track record with EIB over the past 5 years proves that our clients highly appreciate the growth and development opportunities these type of agreements offer.”

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Horizon 2020 allocates nearly €80 billion euro to research and innovation — mainly through grants — but also through the InnovFin range of financial instruments. The comprehensive spectrum of InnovFin products, including the MidCap Guarantee, helps European companies of all sizes, and other organisations engaged in research and innovation, gain easier access to debt and equity finance. 

The ING Belgium facility is supported by the InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators Midcap Guarantee instrument, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020. InnovFin is a new range of EIB Group products designed to facilitate access to finance for innovative businesses – for more information, see the note to editors below.

Note to editor:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

Under Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Over the next seven years, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will offer a range of tailored products which will make available more than EUR 24bn of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48bn of final R&I investments.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries. These debt instruments will be complemented in the near future by a suite of equity instruments managed by the EIF.

InnovFin MidCap Guarantee provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of up to EUR 50m, in order to improve access to finance for innovative midcaps (up to 3,000 employees) which are not eligible under the InnovFin SME Guarantee. This will be rolled out through financial intermediaries such as banks and other financial institutions. Under InnovFin MidCap Guarantee, financial intermediaries will be guaranteed against a portion of their potential losses by the EIB.

ING Belgium SA/NV services all banking customers with a wide range of financial products and via the distribution channel of their choice. ING Belgium SA/NV employs 8,623 FTE and is a full subsidiary of ING Bank N.V. which services 33 million private, business and institutional clients in more than 40 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Australia.