The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI, the Italian Guarantee Fund for SMEs, have signed a second agreement to provide EUR 3.5 billion worth of financing for Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under the European Commission’s COSME programme. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
This agreement was concluded by Banca del Mezzogiorno – Mediocredito Centrale, the bank that manages the Italian Guarantee Fund for SMEs on behalf of the Ministero dello sviluppo economico, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. EIF is providing a counter-guarantee that will enable Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI to grant EUR 3.5 billion worth of financing to Italian SMEs over the next two years. 55 000 Italian SMEs are expected to benefit by gaining access to finance that would otherwise not have been available to them.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Italy continues to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the EFSI. Facilitating access to the finance SMEs need to expand is a central pillar of the Investment Plan and our strategy to support jobs and boost growth. I am delighted that today's agreement will unlock an additional EUR 3.5 billion for thousands of Italian SMEs.”
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “I warmly welcome this second agreement with Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI as it demonstrates that the already existing COSME agreement has reached its full utilisation. We hope to encounter the same success with all our financial intermediaries, in order to be able to support an increasing number of SMEs across Europe. Thanks to this transaction, we will reach out to 55 000 small companies in Italy – an impressive performance.”
Carlo Sappino, Director-General for Incentives to Enterprises of Ministero dello sviluppo economico, said: “We are very pleased that EIF and Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI are continuing this worthy cooperation under the COSME programme after the significant results yielded in the precedent period. This second agreement underlines the commitment of the Italian Government to support the access to finance of SMEs which are the backbone of the Italian economy.”
About Fondo di Garanzia per le PMI
Fondo di garanzia per le PMI (the Fund) is the Italian Guarantee Fund for SMEs established by law no. 662/1996 (art. 2, paragraph 100, letter a) “in order to ensure a partial insurance to the loans granted by lenders to small and medium-sized enterprises.” It is managed by Banca del Mezzogiorno – Mediocredito Centrale S.p.A. (BdM–MCC), on behalf of the Ministero dello sviluppo economico, which, in July 2011, won the tender for its management for a period of nine years. The joint venture is made up of BdM–MCC (Poste Italiane Group), MedioCredito Italiano (Intesa Group), MPS Capital Services (MPS Group), Artigiancassa (BNL - BNP Paribas Group) and ICBPI (ICBPI Group).
The Fund is entrusted to a Managing Board (the Board) chaired by seven members: two representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development, one representative of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, one representative of the Department for Development and Economic Cohesion, one representative appointed by the permanent Conference for relations between the State, regions and autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano and two experts on credit and corporate finance. It guarantees any kind of financial operation aimed at supporting firm activity, of any maturity and sectors. The guarantee is backed by a State guarantee that provides zero-risk weight for the amount granted, with considerable improvement for banks’ lending capacity. The guarantee is issued to banks, mutual guarantee societies and other guarantee funds providing a first demand payment guarantee.
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