EIF And SBCI Triple New Financing For Irish SMEs

The European Investment Fund (part of the EIB Group) and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) have tripled their finance for Irish SMEs under the COSME programme in Ireland with a new increase to EUR 330 million.

 

Today’s deal means that from 2018, in total, an expected 10,000 companies in all sectors across Ireland will have access to COSME support. The additional EUR 230 million was agreed to meet the demand for new financing requests from Irish companies, after 3,500 SMEs primarily in the agri-sector, fully utilised the EUR 100 million financing supported by the COSME EFSI counter-guarantee agreement signed last year. The loans backed by the European Commission’s COSME programme allowed SBCI to launch a new 3 year risk-sharing product last year which was fully utilised within 6 months.

 

An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD said “I welcome this announcement and I look forward to working with the EIB Group on further significant supports for Irish businesses. In addition to the Brexit Loan Scheme which I recently announced, I am also working with the EIB and the SBCI on the development of a Brexit Investment Loan Guarantee Scheme.”

 

Commenting on the signature, EIB Vice President for Ireland, Andrew McDowell said: “This new engagement follows successful financing for 3,500 companies under the COSME programme signed last year and that is now being extended by an additional EUR 230 m. It demonstrates the EIB Group’s strengthened support to enable new investment by thousands of companies across Ireland at a time of uncertainty relating to Brexit. Today’s agreement is also expected to be followed by a EUR 300m joint scheme with SBCI to address working capital challenges of Irish companies as announced in last months’ budget”.

 

SBCI CEO Nick Ashmore said “The SBCI is delighted with today’s announcement. This additional risk capacity represents very significant new European Commission support for Irish SMEs. This will enable the SBCI to develop and deliver new programmes through to mid-2020 to address recognised market failures relating to SMEs ability to obtain access to finance”.

 

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, said: “Today’s agreement with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland means around 10,000 companies will have access to EUR 330 million in financing. This is great news for up-and-coming Irish businesses, for jobs, and for the local economy as a whole.”

 

The EIF agreements with SBCI are guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The EIB Group supported the launch of SBCI in 2014 and the opening of the new office last year gives local entrepreneurs a direct contact point in Ireland for EIF and EIB financing solutions. Entrepreneurs will continue to access finance directly from SBCI’s on-lending banks in Ireland.

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, 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. More information on EIF’s work under the EFSI is available here.

About the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)

As Ireland’s promotional financial institution, the SBCI’s goal is to ensure access to lower cost longer term funding for Irish SMEs by facilitating the provision of:

Credit products with longer maturity and capital repayment variability, subject to lender credit approval;

Lower cost funding to finance providers, the benefit of which is passed on to SMEs;

Market access for new entrants to the SME lending market, creating real competition in the Irish market;

Risk-sharing that addresses specific market failures;

Sourcing and delivering EU funding.

 

All of these elements create a more competitive and dynamic environment for SME finance. The SBCI is a vital part of the country’s financial architecture. By taking a fresh approach to providing access to lower cost finance for SMEs in Ireland, the SBCI is actively supporting the long-term potential of the sector to drive economic growth and create jobs.

 

About COSME

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 easing 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 almost EUR 21 billion of loans and EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 383,000 SMEs in Europe.

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan for Europe, the “Juncker Plan”, is one of Jean-Claude Juncker’s top priorities. It focuses on boosting investments in Europe to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing greater visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It enables the EIB Group to invest in more, often riskier, projects with high added value. EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI so far are expected to mobilise more than EUR 251bn in investments and support around 528 000 SMEs across all 28 Member States.

On 13 September, the European Parliament and Member States came to an agreement in principle on the extension and strengthening of the EFSI. This agreement extends the EFSI’s duration as well as increases its financial capacity.

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