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  • EIB Group (EIB & EIF) guarantee to UniCredit to mobilise approximately €2 billion in support of Italian SMEs and Mid-caps.
  • The operation is supported by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) — the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

UniCredit and EIB Group, including the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Investment Fund (EIF), have signed a new agreement to provide financing to Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-caps. The operation is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

In cooperation with the EIB Group, UniCredit SPA has finalised, with UniCredit Bank AG acting as arranger a new synthetic securitisation of a portfolio amounting to approximately €2 billion under the ARTS (Asset Risk Transfer Sharing) programme and consistent with the new plan “Unicredit Unlocked”. The EIF will guarantee the mezzanine tranche of a portfolio of loans already granted by UniCredit to Italian small and medium enterprises, counter-guaranteed by the EIB.

The capital freed up from the securitised €2 billion portfolio is then used to deploy €720 million of new loans to support new projects carried out by Italian SMEs. The agreement signed is part of the broader framework of cooperation launched by UniCredit and the EIB to support SMEs in Italy. Over the last six years, UniCredit's EIB resources for businesses in Italy have amounted to more than €4 billion, with nearly 6 000 projects financed to date.

In May 2021, UniCredit and the EIB signed an agreement to mobilise €2.5bn of investments in support of large and medium Italian businesses, helping them mitigate the economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This was the first operation in Italy to be supported by the Pan-European Guarantee Fund (EGF), part of the €540 billion EU rescue package approved in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Backed by the EGF, the EIB provided a guarantee up to €750m (75%) of UniCredit's new loan portfolio, which, thanks to additional finance and the complementarity mechanism, will activate €2.5 billion of investment. 

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). From 2019 to 2020, the EIB Group provided €23 billion in financing for projects in Italy.

The European Guarantee Fund (EGF) was created by the EIB Group (EIB and EIF) with contributions from Italy and other EU Member States to shield companies suffering from the COVID-19 crisis. Using nearly €25 billion in guarantees, the EGF enables the EIB and the EIF to quickly make loans, guarantees, equity and other financial instruments available mostly to SMEs and mid-caps. The EGF forms part of the package of recovery measures put in place by the European Union, with the objective of providing a total of €540 billion to support the hardest hit sectors of the EU economy.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. It provides first loss guarantees enabling the EIB Group to invest in riskier projects. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI have so far mobilised €546.5 billion in investment, benefiting over 1.4 million SMEs. In Italy, total financing under EFSI so far amounts to €13.3 billion and is set to trigger €77 billion in additional investments.