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BUCHAREST (Romania), November 6 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) said on Monday it has signed a 50 million euro ($58 million) loan agreement with Romania's UniCredit Bank under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
This is the first financing deal with a local commercial bank under the EFSI in Romania, the EIB said in a press release. The EFSI is the financial pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the 'Juncker Plan'.
UniCredit Bank will use the loan to finance innovative or riskier projects by SMEs, mid-caps, start-ups and companies promoting employment in general and jobs for the young people in particular.
"The EIB activity in Romania is gaining traction. We are very happy to team up with UniCredit Bank, a long-standing local partner of the EIB Group, in our strong commitment for the growth of the local economy under the framework of the 'Juncker Plan'," EIB vice-president, Andrew McDowell, said.
According to the European Commission findings, Romanian SMEs account for 99.7% of enterprises in Romania and provide about two thirds of employment: roughly 2.6 million persons, EIB said. SMEs in Romania bring about 50% of the total value added to the economy or 29.8 billion euro.
"UniCredit Bank is firmly committed in financing the real Romanian economy. In this context, the new loan agreement and our strong commitment in actively supporting our clients’ investments will allow us to further facilitate the development of SMEs, Mid-Caps, start-ups and innovative companies in Romania across different economic sectors, providing easier access to finance at better pricing," UniCredit Bank CEO, Rasvan Radu said.
"A special focus will be in improving access to loan finance for innovative projects compliant to “InnovFin EU Finance for Innovators” initiative backed by Horizon 2020," the CEO added.
InnovFin is a joint initiative launched by the EIB and EIF in cooperation with the European Commission under Horizon 2020. InnovFin aims to facilitate and accelerate access to finance for innovative businesses and other innovative entities in Europe.
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. In 2016 alone, the Bank made available nearly 1 billion euro in loans for Romanian projects.
UniCredit Bank has been a longstanding partner of the EIB Group in Romania since 2001, when the first contract was signed.