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ECONOMY

EIB Signs Loan Agreements with CCB and Hellenic Bank

EIB Signs Loan Agreements with CCB and Hellenic Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed with Hellenic Bank and the Cyprus Cooperative Bank (CCB) two new loan agreements of €40 million and €25 million respectively aiming to provide Cypriot small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-caps with financing on favourable terms.

The loans, granted under the EIB;s Scheme for supporting SMEs and Midpas in Cyprus, are granted with state guarantees, which cover part of the EIB’s credit risk, resulting in cheaper funding, the Cyprus News Agency reports.

Both the Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and EIB Director, Annita Fuerstenberg praised the scheme as having positive impact to the real economy.

Under the scheme, Georgiades said, in a period of three years, a total of 269 loans have been given to small and medium sized enterprises promoting 340 new investments amounting to €440 million. He added that the scheme contributed to the creation of 821 jobs and contributed to the island’s GDP by 0.28% and by 0.46% in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

“With such moves an economy can go forward, with the private sector as the main actor opening new avenues through entrepreneurship, with a facilitating banking sector, the supporting role of the state and a significant European institution, in this case the EIB, offering its own decisive banking,” he said.

On her part, Fuerstenberg said that in 2017 the EIB has signed in Cyprus €333 million of new loans and disbursed over €260 million both in the private and the public sector, “demonstrating the EIB’s commitment to the Cypriot people.”

These numbers, she added, make Cyprus “the most benefited EIB shareholder in terms of its GDP.”

Nicolas Hadjiyiannis, the CCB’s CEO, said under the scheme the bank granted in 2017 116 loans to SMEs amounting to €25 million with an average of €215,000 per loan.

Ioannis Matsis, CEO of Hellenic Bank, said the continued support by the EIB confirms the bank’s confidence to the Cypriot economy “proving we are on the right track.”

During the ceremony, an assessment, commissioned by the EIB, on the effectiveness of the bank’s Scheme was presented. The scheme began in 2014.

The results, Fuerstenberg said, show that “the EIB’s contribution has significant positive impact on the growth rate of the Cyprus economy.”

“The EIB was able to help the private sector during a period when access to lending was particularly challenging even for the larger and the best-established Cypriot enterprises,” Fuerstenberg said.

According to the study, total investment facilitated by the scheme amounted to €443.9 million, of which €410.3 million for new investments and €33.6 million for working capital, while loans under the scheme amounted to €290.5 million as at April 2 2017.

The scheme, the study showed, facilitated approximately 29.8% of total new investments in the economy over the period of 2015-2016 whilst it provided for 16.9% of total new investment in Cyprus.

“Overall, it is estimated that the Scheme has contributed positively to the growth of 2015 and 2016 and continues to contribute to the growth of 2017,” the study said.

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