The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Alba Leasing S.p.A. (Alba) have signed a top-up agreement to provide EUR 120 million to innovative companies in Italy. The agreements were signed under the European Commission’s InnovFin initiative, backed by the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. These agreements were made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called "Juncker Plan".
The EUR 120 million is in addition to the fully disbursed EUR 80 million in agreements which the two institutions signed last year. Within less than one year, Alba has successfully supported more than 140 innovative SMEs and small mid-caps in Italy. In order to meet growing demand for finance from innovative companies, Alba will need an additional EIF guarantee. Today's EUR 120 million top-up to the original agreement is expected to benefit around 200 companies in northern Italy over the next two years.
European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Investment Plan is assisting small businesses across Europe access the finance they need in order to expand, innovate and create jobs. I am delighted that a further 200 Italian companies are expected to benefit from today's agreement."
Speaking at the signature event in Alba, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, commented: “Alba Leasing has demonstrated a strong performance by already financing 100 companies in less than a year. I am therefore delighted to sign a top-up agreement to help them finance an additional 200 businesses. EIF is proud to be part of this success story together with Alba Leasing which will continue to deliver lasting benefits for SMEs and Small Mid-Caps.”
Commenting on the operation, Alba Leasing’s Chief Executive, Massimo Mazzega, said: "The agreement signed with the EIF and European Commission represents an important commitment already supported last year. SMEs and Small Mid-Caps are an extraordinary engine for the economy of our country: thanks to the warranty coverage offered by the EIF under 50% of the amount financed, they will be strongly encouraged to direct their investments to research and development and technological innovation”.
The Junker Plan is already expected to mobilise over EUR 31 billion in investments in Italy and EUR 183.5 billion across Europe.
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