articles | 15 December 2014

EIB and Finance Ministry sign agreement to finance SMEs

Cyprus and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement to allocate over €75m to small and medium sized enterprises in new loans from four banks.

The EIB, which has already similar agreements in place with Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank and the Cooperative Central Bank, said the agreement will bring the total credit line commitment to Cyprus this year to €285 million.

Werner Hoyer, the EIB chairman, who signed the loan and guarantee deal with Cypriot finance minister Harris Georgiades, said he anticipated the participant banks would make loans available in the first quarter of 2015.

“This signature is one part of the process to ensure the funds reach the SMEs,” Hoyer told reporters in Nicosia today. “Our partners are working hard to adapt their lending programmes and make these loans available to the SMEs fast. The effectiveness of our instruments depends onhow fast these funds reach the enterprises and thus, the real economy”.

“I encourage therefore also the four banks we signed with today, as well as the three banks we already made credit lines available in 2014 to ensure these funds can reach the market as soon as possible,” Hoyer said.

“From discussions with partner banks we are confident that by the end of the first quarter of 2015 EIB supported SME lending will be broadly available to those who need them.”

The funds will be directed to “investment in tourism, services, and industry-focussed companies” across Cyprus, the EIB chairman said. Hoyer said that Cypriot authorities will activate the Entrepreneurship Fund to which the EIB will commit €100 million, to provide additional sources of credit to small and medium sized businesses. The fund will be administered by a subsidiary of the EIB.

Hoyer said that the fund, along with complementary funding by participating banks, will allow an additional €200 million of financing available to Cypriot SMEs early next year.

The EIB, which is owned by the European Union, signed an €80 million financing agreement with the University of Cyprus to fund the modernisation, upgrade and anti-seismic protection of the university’s buildings and facilities, the bank said in an emailed statement today. It is the second time the EIB agreed to finance the University of Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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