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Launch of the ALTER’NA fund in Nouvelle-Aquitaine region

    Date: 23 November 2018
  • The ALTER’NA fund of funds will provide EUR 150 million of investment to support some 1 500 final beneficiaries active in the agricultural sector in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regional Council Alain Rousset and European Investment Fund (EIF) Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert officially launched ALTER’NA, which aims to strengthen support for farmers throughout the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Some 1 500 farmers will be able to benefit from this new initiative targeting overall investment of EUR 150 million.

Access to financing is a key issue for a huge number of farmers in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. The need for a financial tool that makes it easier for them to access bank financing to implement their projects was highlighted at length in the feasibility study conducted by the Region.

The Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region has therefore, on the basis of the results of a feasibility study carried out by the advisory teams of the European Investment Bank under the fi-compass platform, decided to enter into a partnership with the European Investment Fund. The objective of this partnership is to use the EIF's experience and expertise to develop a financial instrument that will be available to financial intermediaries, which can use it to facilitate farmers' access to bank credit. The financial instrument will contribute to mobilising more private co-investments and will stimulate better project performance.

ALTER’NA makes Nouvelle-Aquitaine a leading European region in terms of tools for supporting the financing of agricultural operations. In addition, as a managing authority for European funds, it is also a pioneer in mobilising European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding to propose a highly innovative system adapted to the needs of local farmers.

The creation of the ALTER’NA fund of funds – which is set to receive EUR 30m in public funding – represents a practical response to the financing needs of the region’s farmers identified and evaluated by the feasibility study. Its financing envelope includes EUR 16m from Regional Council funds and EUR 14m from the European Union via the EAFRD.

With the participation of the private sector, this financing will make it possible to support some 1 500 farmers over the next five years with investment to the tune of EUR 150m.

Alain Rousset, President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region said: "As Europe's leading agricultural region, Nouvelle-Aquitaine wishes to meet the challenges relating to climatic, environmental, health and economic crises. A systemic response to these issues requires continuous research and innovation efforts over the next ten years. To facilitate both tangible and intangible investment measures aimed at evolving practices, the Region wishes to mobilise new tools for improving access to credit in the agricultural sector. To accomplish this goal, the Region is entrusting the European Investment Fund with the creation of a fund of funds named ALTER’NA (Alternative en Nouvelle-Aquitaine). The fund will have a budget of EUR 30m, including EUR 14m from the EAFRD, and is expected to generate around EUR 150m of loans over three years in support of farmers and businesses. This guarantee instrument will complement current subsidy programmes and banking support.”

Pier Luigi Gilibert, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund said: “ALTER’NA reflects the EIF's desire to work more closely with the regions, particularly in the agricultural sector, in order to prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow. I am delighted with the partnership that the EIF has forged with Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Europe’s leading agricultural region. The signing of the financing agreement and therefore the creation of the ALTER’NA Fund of Funds is an important and promising step for this great agricultural region and is the practical outcome of the joint actions of the EIF and EIB teams to promote the use of financial instruments. Ultimately, the ALTER’NA financial guarantee will be deployed via duly selected financial intermediaries; it will enhance access to bank financing and should benefit more than 1 500 regional operators in the agricultural sphere.”

Under the ALTER’NA investment fund, the EIF is mandated by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region to set up a financial instrument (in line with the investment strategy approved by the Region), select financial intermediaries and manage the fund. The call for expressions of interest is published on the EIF’s website. In response to the applications submitted by banks, the first loans to farmers are expected to be made available during the first half of 2019.

David Yormesor
Tel.: +352 24 85 81 346
E-Mail: d.yormesor@eif.org


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