EIB-ICO: further 1bn SMEs support for growth and employment

EIB-ICO: further 1bn SMEs support for growth and employment

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 1bn loan to the Instituto de Crédito Oficial to provide investment financing for SMEs and Midcaps in Spain.

The EIB loan will provide SMEs and mid-sized companies with long-term finance for their investment projects and credit lines on favourable terms. The underlying sub-loans will finance investment projects in Spain up to EUR 25 million in the case of SMEs and up to EUR 50 million in the case of mid-sized companies.

This agreement signals once again the excellent cooperation over the years of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) to support access of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to funding for their investments in Spain.

President Werner Hoyer and Vice-President Escolano from the European Investment Bank visited Spain today in order to hold meetings with the President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, and with the Minister of Economy and Competitiveness, Luis de Guindos. The meetings mainly focused on the EU Bank's engagement in the country and support to the EU competitiveness. On the occasion of this visit the EUR 1 billion loan agreement was signed.

Under the agreement, ICO will match this EIB loan with the same amount. Thus, total funds made available to Spanish SMEs will amount to EUR 2 billion. This is EIB's third EUR 1billion loan to ICO since November 2013, with ICO contributing the same amount; the two previous financings have already been extended to more than 49 000 SMEs and Midcaps in the period 2013-2014.

President Werner Hoyer said "By providing this new credit line for financing SMEs, the EIB is underlining once again the key role that SMEs play in strengthening the competitiveness of the European economy by fostering sustainable and economic growth and employment".

ICO's Chairwoman, Irene Garrido added that "I would like to highlight the support that ICO has consistently received from the EIB and thank the Bank for the trust that it has once again placed in ICO and Spain, in the firm belief that this will undoubtedly help to improve the financing of Spanish small and medium-sized enterprises and give a boost to the recovery of the Spanish economy that has already begun".

Vice-President Román Escolano expressed "his deep satisfaction with this new EUR 1 billion loan to ICO. This operation is a new step in our firm commitment to provide SMEs, backbone of the European Economy, with much-needed resources at very favorable rates, and will help stimulate economic activity in a wide range of economic sectors and regions across Spain".

Financing small businesses is one of the EIB's investment priorities. Last year alone, the EIB and its subsidiary the European Investment Fund provided a record amount of around EUR 22 billion for SMEs and midcaps, benefiting some 230 000 companies across Europe. In Spain, it made available EUR 4836 million in 2013 for new credit lines designed to finance the investment projects of more than 47 000 SMEs and midcaps.

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

The Instituto de Crédito Oficial is a state-owned bank with the legal structure of a public sector company, attached to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness via the State Secretariat for Economy and Enterprise Support. From a legal point of view it is a credit institution, and it is treated as a State Finance Agency. As a state-owned bank, ICO grants loans to finance companies' investment projects and liquidity needs, both within and beyond Spain, either through financial entities or directly. In addition, as the State Finance Agency, it manages the official financing instruments that the Spanish government deploys to promote exports and provide development aid.

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