Investment Plan for Europe: EUR 1 billion in loans for French SMEs following EIF and SOCAMA agreement

The European Investment Fund (EIF), Banque Populaire and the Federation Nationale des SOCAMA (SOCAMA) have signed an agreement to support additional EUR 1 billion of loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in France. The loans will be provided as a result of a guarantee from EIF 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.

The COSME EFSI counter-guarantee agreement will allow SOCAMA to support additional loans worth EUR 1 billion and is expected to benefit 33,000 French SMEs over the next two years. This is a follow-on agreement, after the successful take-up of the previous COSME guarantee and essentially doubles the portfolio already supported by the COSME programme. EIF has already successfully engaged with SOCAMA under the COSME’s predecessor programmes, benefiting more than 129,000 French SMEs.

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “This latest agreement made possible by the Investment Plan for Europe will unlock a billion euro in loans for tens of thousands of SMEs in France. Facilitating access to the finance that smaller businesses need to innovate and expand is a key component of the Commission’s efforts to boost investment, employment and growth throughout Europe.”

Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “Business creation and growth is often dependent on sufficient access to debt finance. The agreement signed in Paris today will provide EUR 1 billion to French SMEs and therefore contribute to the creation of jobs and growth across the country. I am delighted that this new agreement will build on our already successful cooperation and serve to benefit even more French SMEs”.

Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said: “SME support is a key priority for the EIB Group (EIB and EIF) and this transaction today will timely benefit more businesses in France. We also welcome that this new contract reflects the momentum that the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker plan, is gathering. In France, investments supported by the Juncker plan already represented 30% of the record level of €9.3 billion of EIB Group investments in 2016.”

Chief Executive Officer in charge of the Commercial Banking and Insurance division of BPCE Group, Laurent Roubin said: “Building on our long-term partnership with the EIF and through this agreement, Banque Populaire is proud to provide easier access to loans for French SMEs. Since 2003, the EIF guarantee enables Banque Populaire and SOCAMA to provide loans to finance projects of SME”.

President of National Federation of SOCAMA, Daniel Goupillat said: “This agreement is good news for SOCAMA. It allows us to continue offering to small businesses, together with our partner Banque Populaire, financing for the creation, development and transfer of business. These loans require no personal guarantee or a reduced financial guarantee from the manager or his family”.

Date: 18 January 2017

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