The European Investment Fund (EIF) and UniCredit Bulbank signed a guarantee agreement to increase lending volumes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Under the agreement, UniCredit Bulbank will offer to the Bulgarian business a guarantee instrument amounting to 210 million leva for financing provided under preferential terms and conditions and loan collateral requirements. The duration of the scheme is 3 years.
50% of the credit risk of the provided investment and revolving working-capital loans will be covered by the COSME program.
The COSME guarantee scheme is suitable for all SMEs operating in a wide range of sectors of the economy. The program is also targeted at start-ups at an initial stage of their development that need funding for their activity through a convertible loan.
“We are delighted that UniCredit Bulbank is EIF’s partner of choice. This guarantee agreement will enable us to further support Bulgarian small and medium-sized business. This business segment is better at adapting to the changeable market conditions, it is highly creative and flexible and contributes greatly to the overall economic environment. We believe that this partnership will encourage entrepreneurs to develop new projects on domestic and on foreign European markets alike,” said Teodora Petkova, Chairperson of the MB and Chief Executive Officer of UniCredit Bulbank.
“The framework guarantee agreement with UniCredit Bulbank, which has been a partner of EIF for a long time, will improve conditions in approximately one thousand small and medium-sized enterprises requesting funding for their business plans. The agreement is targeted at start-ups. The agreement will improve competitiveness of SMEs, constituting the most important segment of Bulgarian economy, the driver of economic growth, job creation and innovations,” said the Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund, Pier Luigi Gilibert.
This agreement for funding is supported by the loan guarantee facility provided by COSME and the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) under the Investment Plan for Europe. The goal of EFSI is to assist the funding and realization of product investments in the European Union and facilitate access to finance.
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. EIF’s mission is to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises by facilitating their access to finance.
UniCredit Bulbank is the largest Bulgarian bank with assets exceeding 19 billion leva as at the end of the first half of 2018. It is a leader in lending to the real economy with a market share of 18.5% of the total loans of the banking system. UniCredit Bulbank has strengthen its position as the most trusted bank for depositors, holding customers’ deposits in the amount of 15,6 billion leva. The Bank services over one million citizens and households, private customers, small and medium-sized enterprises, large local and international companies, etc. In 2019 UniCredit Bulbank was declared the best bank in Bulgaria by the renowned international magazine Global Finance. It also received the awards Leader in trade finance services in Bulgaria, Market leader in trade finance services and Market leader in cash management by Euromoney.
About the Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan for Europe is focused on strengthening the European investments to create new jobs and growth.
COSME - Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF) offers guarantees and counter-guarantees for debt finance, in order to improve access to financing through loans for SMEs (with up to 249 employees). The guarantee facility is managed by EIF, and is carried out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this mechanism, financial intermediaries receive guarantees from EIF for part of the losses in case of default on the loans granted by them under the mechanism.
Additional media information:
Ekaterina Ancheva, tel +359 (0) 2 9264 963, flbufsjob/bodifwbAvojdsfejuhspvq/ch
Beatris Nikolova, tel +359 (0) 2 9232 528, cfbusjt/ojlpmpwbAvojdsfejuhspvq/ch
Victoria Blajeva, tel +359 (0) 2 9264 993, wjlj/ebwjepwbAvojdsfejuhspvq/ch