ZAGREB, May 7, 2018 – The European Investment Fund (EIF) and UniCredit on Monday signed an agreement giving innovative companies access to 340 million euro.
The agreement was signed to increase the InnovFin SME guarantee aimed at improving access to finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps in eight countries, EIF and UniCredit said in a press release.
The agreement will allow UniCredit to offer, both via its banks and leasing entities, additional financing worth 340 million euro to innovative companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Serbia.
Together with the initially signed portfolio of 160 million euro, SMEs and mid-caps across these countries will have access to a total of half a billion euros.
This transaction benefits from the support of Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), at the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
The banks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia will benefit from the support of a guarantee provided by EIF and backed under Horizon 2020, while the guarantee agreements with the banks in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania will be backed by EFSI.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The geographical reach of the EFSI is of paramount importance and under today’s agreement with UniCredit, six Central-Eastern EU countries will benefit. SMEs in those member states, as well as in two neighbouring countries, can now apply to UniCredit for loans with the EU budget guarantee to start up and scale up their businesses.”
EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said that, with the increase of credit funds, “more than 500 innovative SMEs will benefit from new financing options delivered by UniCredit in eight different countries through its 13 subsidiaries.”
Carlo Vivaldi, Head of CEE Division of UniCredit, said: “Thanks to the increase of this umbrella facility, we can further facilitate the development of innovative SMEs across our countries allowing easier access to finance and boosting local economies.”