The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and BBVA are set to join forces to support Spanish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps affected by the COVID-19 crisis, signing two agreements to provide total financing of €1.42 billion.
The EIB will grant €450 million to BBVA, which will in turn add a further €450 million, bringing the financing made available to the SMEs and mid-caps in question to €900 million.
In addition, the EIB Group – via the European Investment Fund (EIF), its subsidiary specialising in venture capital for SMEs – has provided BBVA with an €87 million guarantee for an SME loan portfolio via synthetic securitisation. This agreement will enable BBVA to expand its lending capacity and grant €523 million in extra financing at a critical time for the Spanish economy. The EIB Group is providing this guarantee under the Investment Plan for Europe, the support of which enables the EU bank to expand its capacity to finance investment projects that have a higher risk profile owing to their structure or nature.
These two agreements are part of the package of financial measures deployed by the EIB Group as a rapid response to the crisis caused by the pandemic. In concrete terms, in March the EU bank approved measures to mobilise up to €28 billion by providing guarantees and financing and taking other actions to mitigate the shortage of working capital among SMEs and mid-caps, in cooperation with financial intermediaries in the EU Member States. At the same time, the EIB Group is reorienting its operations and making its internal processes more flexible in order to meet the financing needs created by COVID-19 and offer assistance to European businesses as soon as possible.
The COVID-19 economic shock has affected 96% of Spanish SMEs, and over 85% believe it will be difficult for them to survive, according to a report from the Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (CEPYME). The two agreements signed by the EIB Group and BBVA will make it possible to provide financing to SMEs and mid-caps across all sectors of the Spanish economy, with a view to offering liquidity and also helping to finance their operating costs.
EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro, who is responsible for the Bank's operations in Spain, said: “Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises is a priority for the European Investment Bank, which is why we have launched various initiatives since the beginning of this crisis to meet their most urgent financing needs. We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with BBVA to continue providing this support to Spanish SMEs and mid-caps, offering them substantial additional resources at a critical time. Agreements like these are key to protecting industry and jobs, and to consolidating Spain's economic recovery as soon as possible.”
BBVA CEO Onur Genç added: “From the beginning of the crisis, BBVA has been striving to help our customers to overcome this difficult situation. This agreement enables us to continue providing financial assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises to contribute to mitigating the impact of the crisis on their businesses, thereby helping to make the recovery as fast and as strong as possible.”
BBVA's headquarters in Madrid.
The European Investment Bank (ElB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy objectives.
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 (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantee and micro-finance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives to support innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.
Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is one of the EIB Group’s key priorities in Spain. The Bank dedicated over €4.8 billion to this goal last year, representing 57% of the EIB Group's activity in Spain, which received more support for SMEs than any other country. These funds benefited more than 82 600 Spanish companies employing 766 000 people.
The Investment Plan for Europe was launched in November 2014 to reverse the downward trend in investment and foster economic recovery in Europe. Its innovative focus, whereby the EIB Group is provided with an EU budget guarantee, makes it possible to mobilise substantial public and private sector funding for investment in strategic sectors of the European economy. The Investment Plan has to date leveraged €486.4 billion of investment and supported over 1.2 million emerging companies and SMEs throughout Europe. See here the latest results of the Investment Plan for Europe by sector and country, or go to Frequently Asked Questions.
More information on the results of the Investment Plan for Europe is available here.