The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved more than EUR 13 billion worth of financing and advisory services for Romania since it started its operations in the country 25 years ago. EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell and Romania’s PM Mihai Tudose today celebrated the 25th anniversary of the approval of the first ever EIB operation in Romania and the 10th anniversary of the opening of the EIB Group Office in Bucharest, and discussed future cooperation between the EIB Group and Romania.
Moreover, the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group, signed three additional SME Initiative guarantee transactions with BRD-Groupe Société Générale, with ING Bank (Bucharest Branch) and Libra Internet Bank acting as partners. The agreements with the three banks aim to facilitate access to finance for Romanian SMEs by providing a 60 percent guarantee on each loan and by lowering the interest rates charged by banks. These transactions are expected to benefit around 300 SMEs and start-ups in need of finance.
In addition, the EIB signed a first loan denominated in RON with ProCredit Bank S.A., amounting to approximately RON 90 million (EUR 20 million), dedicated mainly to investments for SMEs and midcaps. More than 250 SMEs and midcaps are expected to be reached through this long-term RON denominated lending.
EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell said: “We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our first lending operation in Romania. As there have been 145 projects supported directly by the EIB in Romania and 73 operations accomplished by its subsidiary EIF in the country so far, the new transactions are designed to reduce disparities in regional development and to strengthen the economic competitiveness of Romanian businesses. The current projects are good examples of the fruitful partnership between the EIB and Romania: they provide long-term, affordable financing to SMes. SMEs are the backbone of the Romanian economy when it comes to generating jobs and economic growth.”
During the 25 years, the biggest share of EIB Group lending in Romania (42 percent or EUR 5.4 billion) has gone to the transport sector. It targeted the rehabilitation and modernization of railway, road and motorway networks as well as sustainable urban transport. The second biggest share went to long-term financing for SMEs and midcaps (21 percent or EUR 2billion), followed by energy projects (8 percent or EUR 1 billion). These include the construction of the Fantanele Wind Farm (EUR 200 million) and a gas power plant close to Ploiesti (EUR 200 million). The EIB also approved EUR 480m for the improvement of energy efficiency in residential buildings in Bucharest. Finally, EUR 143 million went to the rehabilitation of elementary and pre-university schools across the country.
Romania is the biggest recipient of EIB Group financing in the south-east of the EU, followed by Croatia and Bulgaria, with some EUR 5 billion each.
PM Mihai Tudose stated: “The Romanian Government and citizens treasure the fruitful collaboration proved over the last 25 years between the EIB and our country, especially in the field of public investment support and financing. The new projects signed today represent a good example of EIB cooperation with the Romanian economy and they are expected to generate positive effects in terms of financing costs and the availability of liquidity for long-term funding to Romanian SMEs, fostering growth and employment with a view to improving the everyday life of citizens.”
At the same time the EIB provided a EUR 7.5 million loan to GreenFiber International SA to finance a recycling and circular economy project. This operation is backed by the EFSI as well. The project will contribute to the creation of 280 full-time jobs and will increase the amount of waste collected and processed by over 50 000 tonnes per year.