EIF and SBCI Triple New Financing For Irish SMEs to €330 Million
The European Investment Fund (part of the EIB Group) and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) have tripled their finance for Irish SMEs under the COSME programme in Ireland with a new increase to €330 million. The deal means that from 2018, in total, an expected 10,000 companies in all sectors across Ireland will have access to COSME support.
The additional €230 million was agreed to meet the demand for new financing requests from Irish companies, after 3,500 SMEs primarily in the agri-sector, fully utilised the €100 million financing supported by the COSME EFSI counter-guarantee agreement signed last year. The loans backed by the European Commission’s COSME programme allowed SBCI to launch a new 3 year risk-sharing product last year which was fully utilised within 6 months.
An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD said: “I look forward to working with the EIB Group on further significant supports for Irish businesses. In addition to the Brexit Loan Scheme which I recently announced, I am also working with the EIB and the SBCI on the development of a Brexit Investment Loan Guarantee Scheme.”
Commenting on the signature, EIB Vice President for Ireland, Andrew McDowell said: “This new engagement follows successful financing for 3,500 companies under the COSME programme signed last year and that is now being extended by an additional €230 million. It demonstrates the EIB Group’s strengthened support to enable new investment by thousands of companies across Ireland at a time of uncertainty relating to Brexit.”
The agreement is also expected to be followed by a €300 million joint scheme with SBCI to address working capital challenges of Irish companies as announced in last months’ budget.
SBCI CEO Nick Ashmore said: “This additional risk capacity represents very significant new European Commission support for Irish SMEs. This will enable the SBCI to develop and deliver new programmes through to mid-2020 to address recognised market failures relating to SMEs ability to obtain access to finance.”
The EIF agreements with SBCI are guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The EIB Group supported the launch of SBCI in 2014 and the opening of the new office last year gives local entrepreneurs a direct contact point in Ireland for EIF and EIB financing solutions. Entrepreneurs will continue to access finance directly from SBCI’s on-lending banks in Ireland.