The Spanish Guarantee Societies (SGR) and CERSA launch Aquisgrán, a pioneering initiative financed by EIF and ICO that opens a new source of financing
21 June 2021
- SGR-CESGAR, the association that brings together the 18 Spanish Guarantee Societies (SGRs) has launched Aquisgrán, a pioneering initiative structured by Intermoney, with initial financing from European Investment Fund (EIF), Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), and Banco Caminos and backed by the Ministry of Industry through CERSA, that will allow Spanish SMEs to access the capital markets, widening and diversifying their sources of financing.
Aquisgrán, a securitization fund promoted by SGR-CESGAR, will improve access to credit of Spanish self-employed professionals and SMEs, diversifying their sources of financing beyond the traditional banking channels, and raising funds in the fixed-income market. Aquisgrán opens a new approach to SME financing in Europe that could be scaled-up and allow investors to achieve direct exposure to SMEs, that are the backbone of the European economy.
SMEs will have access to financing commercialized by SGRs and funded by Aquisgrán Fund, via loans of c.100.000 euros on average, guaranteed by SGRs and benefiting as well from a counterguarantee from CERSA. The loans will be funded initially by Banco Caminos with up to 20 million euros and subsequently by the issuance of 150 million euros in securitization bonds, progressively subscribed by ICO with a bilateral guarantee from EIF.
This platform will also specifically provide support to SMEs contributing to sustainability and green transformation, a fundamental objective of EIF.
The bonds will be listed in the Spanish Alternative Fixed-Income market (MARF). In the near future, Aquisgrán aims at issuing bonds subscribed by private institutional investors.
Intermoney played a key role in the innovative design of the structure of the Fund, working closely with CESGAR and Aquisgrán over the past four years. Gomez-Acebo & Pombo has provided legal advice, and Copernicus will do the loan servicing.
At the signing ceremony in Madrid, EIF CEO Alain Godard said "The EIF is committed to promote securitizations as an efficient way to mobilize financing to SMEs. We have supported for years the Mutual Guarantee Societies via CERSA and we are pleased to continue to do so with this innovative project. This could be scaled up and replicated in other European countries, which, like Spain, have well-established national guarantee systems that could be the foundation of new forms of financing for European SMEs"
ICO's Chairman, José Carlos García de Quevedo stressed that "This initiative is a further step in the joint efforts that ICO is carrying out on public-private partnership with EIF, CERSA and the SGRs to boost growth and competitiveness of Spanish SMEs. Operations such as the one we are signing today are particularly relevant as they promote complementary channels for SMEs to diversify their sources of financing, supporting the key role they will play in the recovery process and the transformation of our economy".
Enrique Serra, CEO of Banco Caminos said "We are proud to be the first private investor in Aquisgrán, and to be financing Spanish SME's while investing in a bond with an attractive risk return profile. This project reflects our purpose of being a professional bank to professional people and we are committed to help self-employed professionals and SMEs to foster their businesses.
Eusebio Martin, General Manager of Aquisgrán pointed out, "We will use this financing to make possible that SME's who cannot access bank lending can obtain the funds they need to materialize their projects. By being the link between SGRs and the stock market we will be able to channel significant resources to the financing of SMEs".
Galo Gutiérrez, Chairman of CERSA, said: "CERSA, as the instrument of the Ministry of Industry in the National Guarantee System, has as one of its strategic objectives the promotion of non-bank financing for SMEs. By designating Aquisgrán as an approved non-bank entity to achieve this objective, we are also strengthening our collaboration with EIF, ICO and SGRs."
Antonio Couceiro, Chairman of CESGAR "Aquisgrán is the result of a long-standing ambition of the SGRs, that during their 40 years of history are aware of the need for SMEs of being able to complement bank lending with other sources of financing. In addition, for the SGR having their own instrument will increase their activity, visibility and relevance, and enable them to have a greater impact on the SMEs."
About the EIF
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 (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantee 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.
The Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) is a corporate state-owned entity attached to the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. It has become a reference point for the financing of both SMEs and large investment projects. ICO contributes to business growth and job creation, supporting economic activities meriting promotion and development as a result of their social, cultural, innovative or environmental importance.
About Banco Caminos
Banco Caminos is a Spanish Bank whose activity has been linked since inception to the collective of civil engineers as well as to its related sectors and activities. It was created in 1977 as the saving bank of the Civil Engineers Guild and in 2008 it became Banco Caminos S.A. Currently it belongs to Grupo Caminos, one of the main Spanish groups of specialized banking, which includes two financial entities (Banco Caminos and Bancofar), a fund manager (Gestifonsa) and an insurance company (FAM).
Aquisgrán Finance (Aquisgrán) is a new company created in 2017 at the initiative of the SGRs to promote the launch of Aquisgrán Securitization Fund and issue the loans that will be funded by it.
CERSA is a financial entity attached to the Ministry of Industry providing counter guarantees to enhance access to finance for SMEs guaranteed by SGRs. CERSA is currently supporting more than 60,000 SMEs.
CESGAR is a non-profit organization, established in 1980, with the purpose of assuming the functions of coordination, cooperation, defence and representation of the interests of the 18 Mutual Guarantee Societies existing in Spain. It develops advisory and technical assistance work, carries out studies and statistics and training plans. CESGAR holds the vice-presidency of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions (AECM) and is a member of CEOE-CEPYME.
Established in 1984, Intermoney (CIMD) is one of the leading non-bank financial firms in Southern Europe. With more than 300 employees in ten specialized companies, it covers a wide spectrum of capital markets¿ products and solutions.
EIF: Lorenzo Squintani / firstname.lastname@example.org
ICO : Begoña Amores / email@example.com / +34 915921641
CESGAR: Sonsoles Lumbreras firstname.lastname@example.org 617 106 776
CERSA: Álvaro Fernández de Navarrete email@example.com +34 690686973
BANCO CAMINOS: Lucas Serrano Fernández firstname.lastname@example.org