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  • The EIB will provide €30 million to Intesa Sanpaolo Banka dd BiH to accelerate the recovery of companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The funds are part of Team Europe financial programme for the socioeconomic recovery of the region after the health crisis
  • The operation will help SMEs and mid-caps retain jobs and ensure business continuity

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Intesa Sanpaolo Banka dd BiH (ISP BiH) have signed a €30 million loan to accelerate recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina in response to the financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will enable ISP BiH to on-lend to companies in the industrial, tourism, agriculture and services sectors. The aim is to enable access to medium and long-term funding for local companies under more flexible and favourable conditions and to help them sustain their activity, growth and employment levels in this challenging economic context.

This operation also supports job creation for young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the European Youth Employment and Training for the Western Balkans (EYET) Initiative by encouraging companies to provide employment and vocational training to young people.

The funds are part of the EIB financial programme for the Western Balkans dedicated to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, announced at the EU-Western Balkans Summit held in Zagreb in May 2020.

The EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans, Lilyana Pavlova, said: “By supporting SMEs and mid-caps, which represent the backbone of the economy and the key source of jobs, the project will contribute to supporting private sector growth and sustaining employment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This transaction will provide additional resources to our long-standing partner, Intesa Sanpaolo Banka dd BiH, to help the most vulnerable entities suffering from the impact of the pandemic address their most pressing needs, preserve their business, jobs and liquidity but also to support their long-term recovery after the crisis. The EIB aims to ensure increased access and availability of funding for companies under favourable conditions to enable them to face the challenges of the ongoing crisis.”

The CEO of ISP BiH, Marco Trevisan, said: “This is an important step on our path to concretely support the recovery of the real economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanks to our excellent cooperation with the EIB, we have been able to tailor a dedicated financial line aimed at covering the needs of our SME and mid-cap clients, which have faced the hurdles of the pandemic and nevertheless have continued to invest, hire talented young people and expand their markets. This line will allow those brave entrepreneurs to access credit at favourable rates and look to a stronger future. ISP BiH is making sure that this can be achieved in full compliance with our ESG rules, which are based on social and environmental sustainable finance principles.”

The Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH, Ambassador Johann Sattler, said: “We welcome the signature of a new EIB lending facility for the recovery of companies in BiH affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Investing in competitiveness of the Western Balkans’ private sector is at the core of the European Union’s Economic and Investment Plan worth up to EUR 9 billion.

The new financing for the companies in industry, agriculture, tourism and other services should spur investments to strengthen competitiveness of SMEs and enhance jobs creation. It should also leverage the EU Special Measure programme aimed to mitigate effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on companies in competitive industries (EU4Business recovery) and on the agriculture value chains (EU4Agri recovery) worth EUR 18 million. “

Since 2009, the EIB has provided €430 million to the private sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has helped sustain over 90 000 jobs. This new financing is another demonstration of the EIB’s enduring support for the country’s economic recovery and sustainable development on the path towards regional and EU integration.

Background information

About the EIB in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

The EU bank has been active in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1977. To date, it has invested €3.1 billion, mostly to the transportation sector and small and medium enterprises. 

About the EIB in the Western Balkans:

The EIB is one of the leading international financiers in the Western Balkans. Since 2009, the Bank has financed projects totalling over €8.6 billion in the region.

About Team Europe and the COVID-19 response in the Western Balkans

As part of the #TeamEurope strategy, the EU's global response to COVID-19, the EIB Group has rapidly mobilised €5.2 billion outside the EU, accelerating financing and targeted technical assistance. For the Western Balkan countries specifically, the EIB has prepared an immediate support package of €1.7 billion, primarily for SMEs and the healthcare sector. The total EU financial support package for the Western Balkans amounts to more than €3.3 billion. 

About Intesa Sanpaolo Banka dd Bosna i Hercegovina

Intesa Sanpaolo Banka d.d. BiH, a subsidiary of the Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo, is a long-standing partner of the EIB and services the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a wide network of branches.