- Some €5.6 billion will be mobilised to support investments in small businesses and for working capital needs in the three countries.
- The €1 billion portfolio of new loans provided by UniCredit to help Italian companies counter the impact of COVID-19 has been fully utilised.
UniCredit Group and the EIB Group, which includes the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), have recently implemented three synthetic credit portfolio securitisation operations that will enable UniCredit to provide €5 billion in new loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Italy, Germany and Bulgaria.
Thanks to its collaboration with the EIB and the EIF under the European Guarantee Fund (EGF) — a key part of the package of COVID-19 response measures approved by the European Union in 2020 to counter economic difficulties and production slowdowns caused by the pandemic — the UniCredit Group has finalised three new synthetic securitisation operations on portfolios totalling some €4.7 billion, in line with the capital efficiency objectives identified in the UniCredit Unlocked plan.
UniCredit Spa has securitised a €1.7 billion loan portfolio in Italy, taking advantage of the EIF junior tranche guarantee. The capital released from the securitised portfolio will be used to disburse €1.8 billion of new loans at preferential rates by 2023 to support new investments and the working capital of Italian SMEs.
In Germany, UniCredit Bank AG has securitised a €2 billion corporate loan portfolio, taking advantage of the EIF junior tranche guarantee. The bank intends to support German SMEs with new loans at preferential rates to the tune of €2.5 billion to be disbursed by mid-2024.
In Bulgaria, UniCredit Bulbank has conducted the first such transaction by the group’s banks in the CE & EE (Circular Economy and Energy Efficiency) division under an EIF junior tranche guarantee, in the form of a €1 billion synthetic securitisation portfolio of loans which will be deployed to provide new loans at preferential rates to small businesses in the country.
These three recent operations, which saw UniCredit Bank AG act as sole arranger, are part of the broader framework of collaboration between UniCredit and the EIB, which in 2021-2022 alone helped mobilise over €9 billion in financial resources for companies in countries where UniCredit operates.
Andrea Orcel, CEO of UniCredit, commented: “Europe’s SMEs are the engine of our economy and it is our responsibility to help them succeed and to support them in difficult circumstances. The €5 billion in new loans are testament to our continued commitment to do so, also nourished by the long-standing cooperation with the EIB. These funds will give companies, and all their employees, the concrete help they need to continue serving their clients and communities.”
EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti stated: “In 2021 alone, the EIB Group supported over 430 000 European small businesses to the tune of €45 billion and, thanks to the long-standing and solid partnership between the EIB Group and the UniCredit Group, Italian, German and Bulgarian small businesses will benefit from another €5 billion in new finance to support their liquidity and working capital needs. These operations show once again the EIB Group’s dedication to European business, and UniCredit has once more proved to be a key partner in terms of facilitating access to credit for the largest number of companies in Europe.”
“Thanks to these operations with Unicredit, thousands of European companies will be able to invest in their growth and development in the medium to long-term. The European Guarantee Fund, deployed in a record-time by the EIB Group following the outbreak of the pandemic, has proved to be a key instrument to provide the needed liquidity to SMEs to weather the crisis down,” said Alain Godard, EIF CEO.
In May 2021, UniCredit and the EIB signed an agreement aimed at mitigating the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 crisis on Italian large corporates and medium-sized enterprises. With the support of the European Guarantee Fund, the EIB has secured 75% of the new €1 billion portfolio of additional loans originating from UniCredit. The operation, which will be fully rolled out in September 2022 thanks to additional funding and the synergy mechanism, has triggered €2.5 billion in corporate investment.
In November 2021, a maiden synthetic securitisation operation was signed under a €2 billion loan portfolio, also structured by UniCredit Bank AG as sole arranger, for which the EIF provided a mezzanine tranche guarantee, so enabling UniCredit to provide €720 million in new loans to Italian small businesses.
EIB, EIF and EGF
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term financing institution of the European Union. Its shareholders are the EU Member States. The EIB's remit is to contribute to the achievement of the European Union’s policy objectives by providing long-term finance for viable projects.
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. The EIF is also active in supporting climate fund investments and infrastructure with a strong focus on environmental sustainability. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.
The European Guarantee Fund was founded by the EIB Group (EIB and EIF) with contributions from Italy and other EU Member States to protect businesses that are struggling in the crisis caused by COVID-19. With almost €25 billion in guarantees, this fund enables the EIB and the EIF to provide companies, mainly small businesses and mid-caps, with quick access to loans, guarantees, securities and other financial instruments.
The European Guarantee Fund forms part of the recovery package adopted by the European Union aimed at providing €540 billion in total to support the sectors of the EU economy most badly affected.
UniCredit is a pan-European commercial bank with a unique service model in Italy, Germany, and Central and Eastern Europe. Our primary objective is to help communities to progress, delivering the best service available to all stakeholders and unlocking the potential of our customers and people across Europe.
We serve over 15 million customers, who are at the heart of what we do in all our markets. UniCredit is subdivided into four main geographic macroregions and two business lines, Corporate and Individual Solutions. This means that we remain in touch with our customers by leveraging the Group’s scale to provide a full range of products.
Digitalisation and our commitment to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) principles are key factors for the service we provide. This helps us to ensure excellence for our stakeholders and create a sustainable future for our customers, communities and people.