European Investment Bank Group’s support for projects in Romania amounted to EUR 1.3 bn in 2018

Anca Alexe 27/02/2019 | 15:51

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), comprising the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its subsidiary, the European Investment Fund (EIF), provided EUR 1.31 billion in loans, guarantees, equity and microfinance operations in Romania in 2018.

The EIB signed new loan contracts for EUR 981 million, while the EIF committed EUR 329 million in three equity, 13 guarantee and three microfinance operations. The amounts committed by the EIB Group will benefit some 8,800 small businesses, companies that are supporting approximately 200,000 jobs in Romania.

The EIB Group support in 2018 represented some 0.64 percent of Romanian GDP, and the country ranks 11th among EU Member States in terms of volume of EIB Group activities. An increasing part of the EIB Group’s financing in Romania was made possible by the Investment Plan for Europe, launched in 2015. Under this Plan, the EIB provides financing backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), as well as advice via the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH). By end-2018, the EIB Group had approved EUR 652 million worth of projects backed by EFSI guarantees, triggering potential investments of EUR 2.66 billion.

EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell commented: “2018 was a very successful year for the EIB Group in Romania. We provided well-balanced support totalling EUR 1.3 billion to the country, financing both public sector projects and – increasingly – private corporates and SMEs, often through guarantees from the Investment Plan for Europe. Almost 9,000 businesses benefited from our operations, which supported some 200,000 jobs. This year, an innovative transaction backed by the Investment Plan for Europe enabled the EIB – for the first time in the EU – to provide a loan dedicated to supporting businesses led by female entrepreneurs. In addition, we cooperate closely with Romanian authorities and companies, and deliver advisory services fostering the preparation and implementation of priority projects.”

Minister of Finance of Romania Eugen Orlando Teodorovici stated: “As in previous years, in 2018, the EIB Group has shown added value in the various stages of the economic cycle in support of EU policies and the re-launch of economic growth to create new jobs. Thus, EIB extended new loans to Romania totalling EUR 981 million and EIF funded equity capital, guarantees and micro-finance commitments amounting to EUR 329 million for the development of important projects throughout the country.

Romania wishes to further benefit from the diversity of financing instruments and modality the Bank makes available to the Member States, with emphasis on those assisting in the increase of EU funds absorption.

As we have stated, 2019 must be a year of investments. In this regard, we invite the EIB Group to strengthen our partnership with a well-balanced financial support directed both to the public sector and the private sector.

As Minister of Public Finance, EIB Governor for Romania and Chairman of the Board of Governors, I would like to express our readiness to explore, together with the EIB and the other Member States, more balanced ways of distributing financial resources based on the Bank’s already proven capacity to adapt, in order to continuously contribute to the EU policies and objectives.

Institutionally, we rely on our strong partnership with the EIB in the Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council, at a time marked by events with institutional and financial implications for the Union, implicitly on the Bank such as Brexit or the negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (post-2020 MFF). We encourage an effective interinstitutional dialogue with good communication with all of the stakeholders in shaping a balanced architecture of the EU budget by different areas and instruments, both inside and outside the EU after 2020.”

Support for corporates

Last year the EU Bank provided a EUR 68 million loan to white goods producer Arctic to finance the construction of a large-scale innovative washing machine production plant, and signed a EUR 50 million first tranche of a EUR 150 million loan with Transgaz to support a new pipeline to link Romania’s natural gas resources on the shores of the Black Sea. The EIB lent EUR 10 million to Radiocom to support the roll-out of a digital TV broadcasting network and EUR 150 million to Warehouses De Pauw to finance the construction of warehouses in Romania’s convergence regions.

The Bank supported the projects of innovative companies to foster research and development, and to introduce innovative production technologies in Romania: EUR 7 million to finance the development of an innovative and sustainable European car industry and EUR 3 million to Cikautxo Group to finance the RDI and capital expenditures of this automotive company at existing facilities in Romania.

Co-financing of priority infrastructure with EU funds

In 2018, the EIB provided a EUR 450 million loan to Romania to finance the implementation of the Romanian Rural Development Programme (RDP) and granted EUR 14 million  to the Municipality of Oradea to finance improvements to its urban infrastructure.

Fostering urban development

The Bank provided a EUR 12 million loan to finance the first investment programme of Bucharest Sector 5 for the energy efficiency of residential buildings. Approximately 100 buildings are being refurbished. It is expected to result in heating energy savings of around 50 percent for the buildings concerned.

Support for SMEs and mid-caps

In 2018, the Bank concluded EUR 217 million worth of intermediated lending with five EIB partner financing institutions, further improving the access of Romanian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and municipalities to EIB financing to support local infrastructure, environmental protection, energy, R&D and innovation, and services, including tourism. Some 3,000 SME and mid-cap projects are estimated to benefit from EIB loans in Romania, supporting about 130,000 jobs.

Last year, given the successful implementation of the SME Initiative, a mandate blending European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) with Horizon 2020, EIF and EIB resources, and positive absorption trends, the Government of Romania decided to increase the ESIF contribution to the programme by an additional EUR 150 million, resulting in a total contribution of EUR 250m. This will enable the overall SMEI programme to generate a portfolio of approximately EUR 1.4 billion of loans to SMEs.

Following a record breaking year, the EIF continued its support in Romania by committing a total of EUR 329 million in 2018 through 13 guarantees, three microfinance transactions and three equity operations aimed at mobilising EUR 938m of financing. Out of these, eight transactions benefited from EFSI guarantees. Overall in 2018, EIF operations enabled access to finance for some 5,800 businesses and contributed to the support of about 72,000 jobs.

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