The operation was formalised during an event at the COSUCRA site in Warcoing (Pecq, Hainaut Province, Belgium) on 9 July. EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters and Willy Borsus, Vice-President of Wallonia and Minister of Economy, presented this major partnership to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs, up to 250 employees) and mid-caps (up to 3 000 employees) weakened by the consequences of an unprecedented pandemic crisis. (press release attached)

The financing scheme is structured around an initial €100 million credit line granted by the EIB to SRIW on particularly favourable terms — thanks to the EU bank’s AAA rating — to enable it to continue to support and lend to companies. SRIW has undertaken to pass on these attractive conditions when providing loans to SMEs and mid-caps operating in a wide range of economic sectors eligible for EIB financing.

An extraordinary programme for an exceptional situation

In order to be considered, the projects supported will have to meet certain predefined criteria, in particular being implemented and located in Belgium and meeting a need for growth. Exceptionally for this type of EIB-funded programme, working capital assistance for SMEs or mid-caps may also be provided. However, they must not be purely financial or real estate transactions. The amounts per project may reach a maximum of €25 million. Another first: the amount taken from the EIB credit line can cover 100% of the company's total project or investment cost. Entrepreneurs should contact SRIW, which will review applications as part of its usual decision-making process.

This operation falls under a broader framework of EIB Group support for European SMEs and mid-caps, with the goal of mitigating the negative effects of the coronavirus crisis and stimulating recovery. The scheme can be renewed by the end of 2022 with the signing of a second €100 million credit line. Given that SRIW will make its best efforts to double this financing capacity by the end of the operation, the partnership is expected to release €400 million to help Walloon companies operate and grow.

In 2020, against the unprecedented backdrop of the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, SRIW began efforts to obtain support from the EIB in order to cope with an upsurge in its operations in terms of both amounts and quantity. At the beginning of 2021, SRIW was endorsed as an EIB partner and intermediary. This move is now coming to fruition, enabling it to immediately deploy the initial €100 million loan envelope as part of its remit to finance business projects in Wallonia, Belgium.

The loan granted to COSUCRA (a €5 million subordinated loan) is the first operation carried out by SRIW using the EIB funds. SRIW has been a partner of the company for over 15 years, and continues to contribute to the financing of projects to develop production capacity for natural ingredients from peas and chicory to enable it to maintain its leading position on fast-growing markets.

At the signing of the finance contracts between the EIB and SRIW — as well as between SRIW and COSUCRA — at the company’s headquarters in Warcoing, Willy Borsus, Vice-President of Wallonia and Minister of Economy, said: “I thank the EIB for its investment in Walloon companies. This unprecedented type of financing combining EU and Walloon funds will enable our companies to develop further, to grow, to branch out internationally and to create jobs. As a result, this product meets our ambition to support the 80 000 companies across all sectors in our region and is also fully in line with the Wallonia Recovery Plan, which is squarely focused on business development.”  

EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters added: “SMEs and mid-caps are the driving force behind the Walloon economy in terms of economic dynamism and job creation. Faced with the economic consequences of the pandemic crisis, it is our shared responsibility to strengthen support for companies that are vulnerable, or whose investment projects could be compromised, with solutions tailored to their financing needs. The combination of the clout and expertise of the EIB and SRIW will enable the Walloon Region to consolidate its Wallonia Recovery Plan, and help its companies to meet current challenges and continue to develop.” 

Vice-President of the SRIW Management Committee Sébastien Durieux said: “2020 and 2021 have been exceptional years for SRIW, with a significant increase in the quantity and amounts of transactions against the backdrop of this unprecedented crisis. SRIW intends to continue to play a full role in supporting the Walloon economy with operations enabling companies to maintain or restore their liquidity and/or solvency levels. SRIW’s operations have historically been carried out using its own funds, but the crisis has led us to diversify our sources of financing with recourse to debt. In view of SRIW's remit, the EIB was the natural choice for the first lender to be called upon.”

Background information:

About the EIB

With an allocation of around €1.5 billion to Belgium in 2020 — covering projects in various sectors including- education, energy, water, industry and SMEs — the EIB Group provided support representing 0.30% of Belgian gross domestic product (GDP).  (Belgium and the EIB)

The EIB and its subsidiary, the European Investment Fund (EIF), are committed to supporting SMEs and mid-caps, which in many countries form the backbone of local economies. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EIB has called upon its wide network of partner institutions across the European Union to rapidly deploy its financial firepower to sustain businesses hit hard by lockdowns and other restrictions. For example, in 2020, the EIB Group’s financing for SMEs and mid-caps amounted to €30.56 billion and supported around 420 000 of these companies, which employ 4 million people. See SMEs and mid-caps (eib.org) and The EIB: one year into the COVID-19 pandemic (eib.org)

About SRIW 

SRIW (Société Régionale d'Investissement de Wallonie) contributes to economic development by financing the development projects of Walloon companies or of companies located in Wallonia. Alongside private investors, it invests in growth through loans and equity.


With a history spanning six generations in the production of natural chicory and pea ingredients, COSUCRA targets the food and nutrition and health markets worldwide. Its pioneering vision on natural ingredients allows COSUCRA to hold an industrial and commercial leadership position in its market. Constant investment in research and development supports its major strategy: innovation. COSUCRA contributes to healthy and sustainable contemporary diets by concentrating nature’s beneficial effects in convenient integrated solutions.