The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Mutualité de Cautionnement (MC) have signed a COSME agreement in Luxembourg that will allow MC to provide guarantees supporting more than €20 million of loans to small and medium-sized Luxembourgish businesses. This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe.
The COSME transaction signed today is the first COSME signature in Luxembourg and will enable MC via its partner banks to substantially increase its guarantee volume and reach out to a higher number of currently underserved Luxembourgish SMEs. The new partnership will provide access to loans to more than 200 SMEs many of which are expected to be start-ups and business transfers.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Thanks to today’s Investment Plan agreement with Mutualité de Cautionnement, more than 200 start-ups and small businesses will be able to access the crucial financing they need to grow their ideas and expand their company.”
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “EIF is a strong supporter of the Luxembourgish SME market and this transaction demonstrates our commitment to enhancing access to finance for SMEs in the country. Thanks to COSME support, MC will substantially accelerate its guarantee activity for the benefit of small enterprises and start-ups in Luxembourg.”
Director General of the Luxembourgish Chamber of Commerce, Carlo Thelen said: “Due to a lack of sufficient guarantees, access to a bank loan is often difficult for a number of entrepreneurs. MC can enhance access to finance by being a bank guarantor and providing a deposit.”
MC’s President, Fernand Ernster emphasised: “An additional guarantee or a deposit from MC provides an entrepreneur with a crucial tool to negotiate their financing conditions with the bank. The COSME counter-guarantee allows MC to increase the amount of the deposit.”
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. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on EIF’s work under the EFSI is available here.
About Mutualité de Cautionnement
The Mutualité de Cautionnement (MC), launched by the Chamber of Commerce, can provide SMEs with access to bank financing by acting as a guarantor with respect to credit institutions for part of the loan requested if the entrepreneur’s guarantees are insufficient. More information on MC is available under www.cautionnement.lu
COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to easing access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise more than EUR 21 billion of loans and EUR 3 billion of venture capital to almost 400,000 SMEs in Europe.
Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/
About the Juncker Plan
The Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan, is one of the European Commission’s top priorities. It focuses on boosting investments to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It provides a first loss guarantee, allowing the EIB group to invest in more, often riskier, projects. The EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise more than EUR 256 billion in investments and support around 539,000 SMEs across all 28 Member States. The latest figures on EFSI by sector and country can be found here.
In September 2016, President Juncker proposed to extend the EFSIby increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. The European Parliament and Member States adopted the “EFSI 2.0” Regulation in December 2017.
Official press release from European Comission