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Dec 16, 2009 18:33 EEST
December 16 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) said on Wednesday it has signed a 100 million euro ($145.6 million) loan agreement with Croatia's Zagrebacka Banka to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
The funds will be used for supporting projects in the areas of industry, upgrading of infrastructure, environmental protection, energy efficiency and services including tourism in Croatia, the EIB said in a statement posted on its website.
The funds will help SMEs and municipalities to mitigate the effects of the current credit crisis and improve their access to medium and long term finance, the EIB said.
This type of EIB lending helps to increase the productivity and competitive capacity of SMEs, which collectively make an important contribution to economic growth, modernisation and employment throughout Croatia, the statement added.
The current loan represents the first EIB loan granted to Zagrebacka Banka and will increase the number of EIB partner financial institutions in Croatia having positive implications for the SME sector and public authorities, EIB added.
Since 2001 the EIB has provided in loans in Croatia some 1.9 billion euro, including the current loan. Out of this amount, the sum of 736 million euro represents loans supporting the development of entrepreneurial activities of SMEs and municipalities.
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