The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the National Guarantee Fund EAD (NGF) have signed an agreement that will release an additional EUR 40 million for Bulgarian 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.
EIF is providing a counter-guarantee that will enable NGF to grant EUR 20 million worth of guarantees, thereby improving access to finance for Bulgarian SMEs with limited collateral. 330 Bulgarian SMEs are expected to benefit from this agreement over the next three years.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “I am delighted that Bulgarian SMEs will benefit from the Investment Plan for Europe to the value of an additional EUR 20 million worth of guarantees over the next three years. This transaction will allow these enterprises to press ahead with their plans to innovate, expand and create jobs. I am looking forward to hearing the stories of the entrepreneurs and citizens getting jobs in Bulgaria through EFSI’s support.”
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “Supporting SMEs is of outmost importance to the European economies. I therefore warmly welcome this new agreement concluded under EFSI which will benefit 330 Bulgarian SMEs across the country. Thanks to the Investment Plan for Europe, this new agreement enables EIF to scale up its existing efforts on the Bulgarian SME market.”
Samuil Shiderov, NGF Executive Director, commented: “Being a part of the Bulgarian Development Bank Group and a member of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions (AECM), our main mission is to enhance the access to finance for SMEs in Bulgaria. With the support of EIF and the COSME counter-guarantee agreement we will be able to widen the range of intermediaries we work with and also the transactions we cover and help more companies to implement their business ideas.”