EIF and UniCredit Leasing sign the first guarantee agreement to support leasing finance for small and medium-sized enterprises in Lithuanian

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UniCredit Leasing. HC photo.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and SIA UniCredit Leasing Lithuanian Branch (UniCredit Leasing Lithuania) have signed a guarantee agreement under the JEREMIE mandate in Lithuania, to support and stimulate the growth of leasing as a form of financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

According to this new agreement UniCredit Leasing Lithuania will provide leases from its resources to SMEs for a total amount of EUR 30 million (more than LTL 103 million). UniCredit Leasing Lithuania will start providing these guaranteed leases immediately after the signature and the facility will cover a period of three years.

Mr. Graham Cope, Head of Region said: “We are very pleased to announce the signature of this new agreement with UniCredit Leasing, as this is the first transaction of this kind for the leasing sector in Lithuania. This new portfolio guarantee transaction will broaden the financing possibilities for Lithuanian SMEs and should accelerate the business expansion in Lithuania and stimulate further investments.”

“The signed agreement broadens our possibilities to finance Lithuanian SMEs and allows us to propose a greater variety of leasing solutions. We value this as a significant step for the Lithuanian leasing market, as we are the first leasing company in the Baltic countries entering into a such transaction with EIF “, says Laimonas Belickas, Head of UniCredit Leasing Lithuania.

The guaranteed leases will be provided to SMEs registered and operating in Lithuania, if the leases are not financed under the other Business Promotion Programmes financed from EU or national funds. Leases will be provided in Litas and Euros.

The guarantee product is implemented under the JEREMIE initiative, which is financed from the EU Structural Funds under 2007-2013 Economic Growth Operational Programme of Lithuania and managed by the EIF.

About the EIF

EIF’s central mission is to support Europe’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture capital and guarantees 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. The EIF total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 6bn at end 2011. With investments in over 370 funds, the EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. The EIF guaranteed loan portfolio totalled over EUR 7.6bn in close to 220 operations at end 2011, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

About UniCredit Leasing

UniCredit Leasing is one of the major financial institutions in Austria, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Ukraine. As per market share UniCredit Leasing is among top three companies in Europe. With more than 3,000 employees in 19 countries UniCredit Leasing is the leading company in Central and Eastern Europe. The leasing company provides up to EUR 10 billion (~ LTL 35 bn) of new leases per annum.

About JEREMIE

JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) is a joint initiative launched by the European Commission (DG Regional Policy) and the European Investment Bank group to improve access to finance for SMEs in the EU within the Structural Funds framework for the period 2007 – 2013. JEREMIE enables the EU Member States and Regions to put money from the structural funds and also national resources into holding funds that can finance SMEs in a flexible and innovative way. Since the products will be provided on a repayment basis, funding will be reinvested and hence more SMEs will benefit from the EU resources.

In Lithuania, JEREMIE Holding Fund is financed from the EU Structural Funds under 2007-2013 Economic Growth Operational Programme of Lithuania.

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