>@Mercedes Landete/EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Banco Comercial Português S.A. (Millennium bcp) are joining forces to foster economic growth and job creation in the areas impacted by the forest fires that spread accross the north and centre of Portugal in 2017. The EU bank has granted a EUR 75m loan to Millennium bcp to provide financing in advantageous conditions to companies affected by the wildfires. Under the agreement, Millennium bcp undertakes to match the loan with at least the same amount. The final funds provided to facilitate economic recovery in the affected areas will therefore reach EUR 150m.

A ceremony to ratify the contract took place today in Lisbon in the presence of EIB Vice-President Román Escolano and Millennium bcp’s Executive Vice President João Nuno Palma. This contract will make it possible to pass on the advantages of EIB funding - in terms of both long maturities and low interest rates - to Portuguese companies needing to purchase or replace machinery, facilities or working capital financing as a result of the destruction caused by the fires.

As part of the EU bank’s response to the devastating forest fires, last September the EIB provided a EUR 500 000 donation to the REVITA fund, created by the Portuguese authorities to help the local population, aimed at facilitating financing for the reconstruction of destroyed first homes. In an effort coordinated by the EIB Institute, the EIB Group raised money among its staff, which was then topped up by the Bank itself. Millennium bcp also contributed more than EUR 440,000 to the REVITA fund, including funds raised from the general public via a solidarity account.

The EU bank is taking another step in its partnership with Millennium bcp. The EUR 150m in funds provided by both institutions will provide financing for companies impacted by the tragedy to resume and strengthen their economic activity.

At the ceremony held in Lisbon, EIB Vice-President Román Escolano stated: “As the EU bank, we are pleased to conclude an agreement that demonstrates the EIB’s strong commitment to supporting Portuguese citizens after the terrible tragedy that befell the country. We are confident that this loan will contribute to the quick recovery of the economy in the affected area, fostering growth and employment.” 

Millennium bcp Executive Vice President João Nuno Palma said: “With this new credit facility, Millennium bcp is offering its customers an exclusive solution in Portugal for equipment acquisition, re-building of facilities or working capital needs, making it possible for the business activity of the companies affected by the fires that devastated Portugal in 2017 to recover more quickly. We reiterate our positioning as a close partner of companies, at all times and in all phases of their life.”

This new loan reinforces the long-standing relationship between Millennium bcp and the EIB in support of small and medium-sized Portuguese companies. A previous EUR 250m loan was signed in June 2017 to facilitate access to credit for SMEs and midcaps located in Portugal.

In 2017, the EIB Group provided EUR 29,600m for small businesses, reaching 285 800 companies throughout Europe. In Portugal, also last year, the EIB Group signed loan or guarantee agreements totalling EUR 1,906m, including EUR 1 022m that contributed to supporting more than 6 600 Portuguese SMEs.