EIB-ICO: New SME financing agreement
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 500 million loan agreement with the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) designed to boost the amount of credit available to SMEs and midcaps (companies with up to 3 000 employees), mainly in the industrial and service sectors.
The EIB loan will serve to make long-term, low-interest credit available to SMEs. Under the agreement, ICO undertakes to pass on the financial benefits of the EIB funding to its customers. The resources will be used to finance the long and medium-term investment and working capital needs of small businesses.
This credit line, which will be matched by a further EUR 500 million from ICO, will serve to finance projects located in Spain. It is estimated that around 35% of the loan amount will go to projects in convergence regions, in which SMEs play a key role in creating and safeguarding employment.
The EIB's previous loan agreement with ICO, also for EUR 500 million, was signed on 22 November 2012. Today's agreement brings total EIB loans of this type provided to ICO since 2008 to EUR 3 billion.
In 2012, the EIB made available a record EUR 13 billion for small businesses, benefiting more than 200 000 companies throughout Europe. In Spain that year, it provided EUR 2 680 million worth of new credit lines to finance 24 280 investment projects mounted by small businesses in Spain.
The Instituto de Crédito Oficial is a state-owned bank that disposes of various intermediated facilities implemented via financial entities and grants loans to companies and the self-employed to support their investment projects and meet their liquidity needs. In 2012, it made available EUR 11.511 billion through these facilities to a total of 162 075 companies, providing an average of EUR 70 000 per firm.
About the EIB:
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.
About the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO):
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.
Matilde del Valle Serrano