With two separate credit lines, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas with a total of EUR 300 million for financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and midcaps throughout the country as part of its continued support for the enterprise system in Italy.

Specifically, the agreement signed in recent days in Rome provides for:

EUR 200 million in loans for SMEs, companies with fewer than 250 employees, and a EUR 100 million credit line in support of midcaps, companies with between 250 and 3 000 employees.

“Cooperation with domestic banks forms a crucial part of the process to enable the EIB's financial resources to permeate the fabric of SMEs, which are absolutely vital for growth and the creation of jobs in Italy and Europe”, said Romualdo Massa Bernucci, Deputy Director General for EIB operations, “and we are delighted to be able to add these two new credit lines to strengthen the Bank's existing fruitful cooperation with BNL, which has lengthy and extensive experience of providing finance to SMEs and midcaps.”

"This new initiative", stated Paolo Alberto De Angelis, Deputy General Manager and Head of BNL's Corporate Division, "comes against the backdrop of a fruitful partnership over several decades with the EIB, which in the past four years alone has provided Italian businesses with over EUR 1.3 billion in EU funding. These types of operations give firms additional financial resources to support investment growth and provide the working capital to boost their competitiveness at home and outside Italy."

In general, both new and existing projects that have not yet been completed will benefit from the loans.

Such funds are intended to underpin businesses operating in all productive sectors (agriculture, crafts, industry, retail, tourism and services) and the projects can be for the purchase, construction, extension and refurbishment of buildings; the purchase of plant, equipment, vehicles or machinery; expenses, additional charges and intangible assets connected to the projects, including research, development and innovation costs; and the permanent need for working capital for operational purposes.

As far as the SMEs and midcaps are concerned, for investment projects costing up to EUR 25 million and EUR 50 million respectively, the loans may cover up to 100% of the investment (with a maximum of EUR 12.5 million per project, however) and will have a maximum term of six years.

For midcap projects costing between EUR 25 million and EUR 50 million, the EIB loan may not exceed 50% of the cost of the investments.