ICO and BEI: Financing of SMEs in agrifood sector
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 150 million loan to the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) to facilitate the financing of projects mounted by small and medium-sized businesses in the farming and agrifood sectors. This loan on preferential terms will finance both investment and working capital for a duration of up to 12 years with a four-year grace period. Eligible projects will be located in Spain and it is estimated that at least half will be carried out in convergence regions.
The loan agreement was signed today in Madrid at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment by EIB Vice-President Magdalena Álvarez Arza and the CEO of ICO, Román Escolano, in the presence of Minister Miguel Arias Cañete.
The Minister of Agriculture, Miguel Arias Cañete, stated that "today's agreement consolidates the Instituto de Crédito Oficial's close relationship with small and medium-sized businesses in Spain's agrifood sector, to which it has dedicated something over 20% of its total credit so far in 2013". He added that "for its part, the European Investment Bank is demonstrating its interest in financing a dynamic and solvent sector with export capacity".
Upon signing the agreement, the EIB Vice-President said that "this operation, the first of this kind in Spain, provides a model by injecting liquidity into a key sector of the Spanish economy on highly favourable terms. As such, this loan represents a further step in the EIB's commitment to supporting small and medium-sized businesses, which are being hit particularly hard by the economic crisis". She went on to stress "the positive impact of these funds in terms of boosting activity in the sector and fostering job creation."
ICO's CEO Román Escolano added that "the signing of this loan testifies to the excellent cooperation between the EIB and ICO over more than 30 years, and especially recently, and on this occasion in support of Spain's crucial farming and agrifood sectors."
This first loan to ICO specifically for financing SMEs in the agriculture sector complements other EIB credit lines to ICO and reinforces the cooperation between the two institutions that goes back to 1986.