Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and UniCredit Bank Austria strengthen cooperation

  • Guarantee agreement increased to EUR 500m
  • EUR 300m of additional funds for innovative SMEs in Austria

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and UniCredit Bank Austria are expanding their partnership. An earlier, EUR 200m guarantee agreement from 2016 is now set to be increased to EUR 500m, with the EIF using the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility to back new loans from UniCredit Bank Austria totalling EUR 300m. This has been made possible by support from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. Resources from Horizon 2020 – the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – have also been included. UniCredit Bank Austria will make the additional EUR 300m available in the form of loans to innovative Austrian firms by mid-2021.

EIF Director Hubert Cottogni said: “A further EUR 300m in financing constitutes a major contribution to strengthening small businesses in Austria. We are confident of the support this will provide to the innovative plans of Austrian SMEs and mid-caps. UniCredit Bank Austria was incidentally also the first bank to take part in the predecessor RSI programme targeting innovative companies, so I am particularly happy that we have been able to expand our partnership by increasing the size of the InnovFin SME guarantee agreement today.”

Susanne Wendler, UniCredit Bank Austria Management Board member responsible for "Unternehmerbank", added: “We are very pleased with the renewal and major increase in our guarantee agreement with the EIF. It will enable us to continue the resounding success of our InnovFin SME agreement for years to come. We are the only commercial bank in Austria that can support its customers with such valuable guarantees. The InnovFin initiative will enable us to provide innovative and research-oriented SMEs and mid-caps in Austria with a further EUR 300m in loans on very favourable terms. This presents two major advantages to SMEs: firstly, through the EIF, they receive very good-value additional security; and secondly they obtain even more favourable terms, as we pass the cost benefits of the guarantee on to our customers in their entirety. UniCredit Bank Austria can thereby open up more financing possibilities to innovative companies and further strengthen its role as Austria's leading corporate bank.”

Note to the editor:

About the EIF
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments, which specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on the EIF's EFSI activities can be found here.

About UniCredit Bank Austria
UniCredit Bank Austria is part of UniCredit, a simple successful pan-European commercial bank, with fully plugged in corporate and investment banking, delivering a unique Western, Central and Eastern European network to its extensive client franchise. UniCredit offers both local and international expertise to its clients, providing them with unparalleled access to leading banks in its 14 core markets through its European banking network: Italy, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey. Leveraging on an international network of representative offices and branches, UniCredit serves clients in another 18 countries worldwide.

Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan for Europe – also known as the Juncker Plan – is one of the European Commission’s top priorities. It is designed to boost investment, thereby creating jobs and fostering growth. To this end, smarter use is being made of new and existing financial resources and obstacles to investment are being removed. At the same time, investment projects are being brought more to the attention of the public and supported by technical assistance.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) forms the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It provides first-loss guarantees, enabling the EIB to finance more projects, which often carry greater risks. EFSI has already achieved tangible results.  The projects and agreements  approved under EFSI so far are expected to mobilise almost EUR 450.6bn of investments and will benefit over 1 million small and medium-sized enterprises in the 28 EU Member States. For further information on the results of the Investment Plan for Europe, click here.

About InnovFin
The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between EUR 25 000 and EUR 7.5m in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by the EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by the EIF against a proportion of their losses.

UniCredit Bank Austria: Franziska Schenker
Tel.: +43 50505 51417,
email: franziska.schenker@unicreditgroup.at

EIB: Christof Roche, c.roche@eib.org, tel.: +352 4379 89013, mobile: +32 479 65 05 88
Website: www.eib.org/press – Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org