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EIB, Alpha Bank and Eurobank EFG fuel SME investment in Greece with EUR 1 billion in new initiatives for small companies

The European Investment Bank signed today in Athens its first new facility dedicated to SMEs in Greece, for an unprecedented amount of EUR 500 million, with Alpha Bank and Eurobank EFG, which will match this amount with a further EUR 500 million from their own resources.  The contracts were signed in a public ceremony in the presence of Mr Yannis Papathanasiou, Hellenic Minister of Economy and Finance, and some 100 entrepreneurs, by EIB Vice- President Plutarchos Sakellaris, ALPHA BANK’s Managing Director, Mr Demetrios Mantzounis, and the Managing Director of Eurobank EFG, Mr Nicholas Nanopoulos.
The two EIB partner banks, which are among the top banks in Greece with extensive branch networks and wide SME portfolios in Greece as well as neighbouring countries, have each been allotted EUR 250 million.  The funds will be used to provide finance to small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in the fields of industry, agriculture, commercial services and tourism in Greece.  The lending facility signed with Eurobank EFG also includes lease financing possibilities.
The Hellenic Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr Yannis Papathanasiou, stated:  “The new EUR 500 million EIB financing facility will offer enhanced possibilities for covering the liquidity needs of Greek SMEs in this unprecedented international economic crisis that we are facing.  The funds will be used for financing enterprises in industry, tourism, trade and, more generally, services.  I am sure that these funds will be used to the benefit of our enterprises, also through initiatives that will be taken by Greek banks.  Through the plan that we have developed and are putting into action, our objective is to mitigate, as much as possible, the impact of the crisis.  We are pressing ahead with our reforms, which have reinforced the dynamism of the Greek economy, and we are also continuing our fiscal adjustment policy with the aim of exploiting to the full the opportunities that the future recovery of the global economy will present. Until then, our objective, which is also our obligation, is to utilise all the available development tools, such as those offered by the EIB to the European economies”.
EIB Vice-President Plutarchos Sakellaris commented at the signing ceremony: “The success of the Greek economy is inextricably linked to small businesses.  We will act boldly to lift SMEs out of crisis. Our action is amplified by the synergy with our partner banks ALPHA BANK and EUROBANK EFG. Now is the time to work together to restore the growth that can only come from strong and flourishing enterprises that harness innovation and advance opportunity”.
Mr Demetrios Mantzounis, Managing Director of ALPHA BANK stated: “We are delighted to participate in this new EUR 1 billion EIB SME financing facility in Greece.  We are committed to helping smaller businesses weather the crisis and continue investing in their business development and prospects”.
 Mr Nicholas Nanopoulos, Managing Director of Eurobank EFG commented: “The new contract that we are signing today reinforces the excellent cooperation that Eurobank EFG has developed with the EIB in recent years.  This cooperation comprises among other things for Greece the financing, on favourable terms, of small and medium-sized enterprises and infrastructure projects carried out by local authorities, and the co-financing of large infrastructure projects.  In addition, in two weeks time the financing contract for the first ever PPP project to be implemented in Greece will be signed, which we are co-financing 50/50 with the EIB.  Moreover, our cooperation with the EIB is also extended to the New Europe, with loans to be signed for a total of EUR 450 million also for financing SMEs in these countries”. 
At the signing ceremony, Mr Konstantinos Michalos, President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and Mr Panagis Karellas, President of the Athens Traders Association addressed the audience, highlighting the fact that EIB involvement is expected to generate positive effects for the underlying investments in view of the availability of longer maturities, lower financing costs, and improved conditions for enterprises. Simpler and more flexible, this new lending arrangement will enable EIB partner banks to finance all types of investment or expenditure required to grow European businesses with fewer than 250 employees, whether in the form of tangible or intangible investment or working capital.
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