BRUSSELS, 04-Mar-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI, have signed a COSME agreement in Italy, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
The counter-guarantee agreement will allow Fondo di Garanzia to support more than EUR 1 billion of financing to 20,000 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Italy over the next year. Fondo di Garanzia will support Italian SMEs through the Italian Confidi (mutual guarantee societies that provide guarantees to SMEs throughout Italy). The counter-guarantee agreement is provided under the COSME programme with financial backing from the European Commission.
EU Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Italy is steaming ahead when it comes to SME financing agreements under the Investment Plan, with far more deals signed than in the other Member States. This is very welcome since SMEs are the backbone of the Italian economy and they should not struggle to access financing for their projects. I hope the EFSI-backed deal signed today will enable those 20,000 small businesses to bring their ideas to life.”
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am pleased that we are signing this EFSI SME counter-guarantee agreement in Italy with Fondo di Garanzia under the COSME programme. This new agreement will enable 20,000 Italian SMEs to gain access to finance to create jobs and growth and develop their companies.”
Carlo Sappino, Director-General of Incentives to Enterprises within the Ministry of Economic Development, said:”We are very pleased and honoured that this counter-guarantee agreement between the EIF and Fondo di garanzia per le PMI has been signed. It allows to increase in particular in this critical period for the Italian credit market, the instruments implemented to support the access to finance of SMEs which are the pillars of our productive system.”
This deal reflects the EIB Group’s commitment to respond swiftly to calls from Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament for a rapid launch of concrete initiatives under EFSI, accelerating lending and guaranteeing transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.
About the EIF
The European Investment Fund’s (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. EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment. EIF’s total net commitments to equity funds amounted to over EUR 8.8bn at end 2014. With investments in over 500 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture and growth funds, including in the high-tech and early-stage segments. In addition to its equity activities EIF’s loan guarantees portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6bn in over 350 operations at end 2014, ranking it as a major European SME guarantee provider and a leading micro-finance guarantor. For more information visit www.eif.org
About Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI
Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI is an Italian guarantee fund for SMEs “in order to ensure a partial insurance to the loans granted by lenders to small and medium-sized enterprises”. Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI is managed by Banca del Mezzogiorno – Mediocredito Centrale S.p.A. (BdM–MCC), on behalf of Ministero dello sviluppo economico, as head agent of the joint venture made up of BdM-MCC (Poste Italiane Group) itself, MedioCredito Italiano (Intesa Group), MPS Capital Services (MPS Group), Artigiancassa (BNL – BNP Paribas Group), ICBPI (ICBPI Group).The Fund is entrusted to a Managing Board (the Board) chaired by 7 members, two representatives of the Ministry of economic development, a representative of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, a representative of the Department for development and economic cohesion, a representative appointed by the permanent Conference for relations between the State, regions and autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano and two experts on credit and corporate finance. It guarantees any kind of financial operation aimed at supporting firm activity, of any maturity and sectors. The guarantee is backed by a State guarantee that provides zero-risk weight for the amount granted, with considerable improvement for banks’ lending capacity. The guarantee is issued to banks, mutual guarantee societies and other guarantee funds providing a first demand payment guarantee. For information please visit the following website: www.fondidigaranzia.it
About the Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by February 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) triggered more than €60 billion of investment in Europe.
COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to ease access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise more than EUR 20 billion of loans and EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 373,000 SMEs in Europe. Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/