ZAGREB, Oct 1 (Hina) – The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) on Thursday agreed on a financial package that could enable up to €200 million in loans for faster recovery of Croatian SMEs from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the agreement between these two financial institutions, HBOR has been awarded a loan in the amount of €100 million, and this amount, coupled by additional funds from the Croatian bank, will “unlock a new source of more affordable loans to support ongoing investments plans or provide much-needed working capital for Croatian SMEs and MidCaps, the backbone of the Croatian economy and a major source of employment in the country,” EIB says on its web site.
The package is part of the European Union`s COVID-19 economic support for European SMEs approved by the EIB in April 2020, shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic.
EIB Vice President responsible for EIB activities in Croatia, Dario Scannapieco was quoted as saying that “successful and growing SMEs are crucial for a faster and sustainable recovery of the Croatian economy from Covid-19, which is why we are proud to support their business plans with a new source of finance.”
This loan is part of a comprehensive EU-wide economic response to the pandemic, and the EIB continues to deliver a tangible, real support to Croatia and its economy in its time of need, he stressed.
Scannapieco welcomed “the recent decision by the Croatian Government to join the EIB Pan-European Guaranty Fund and expressed hope that the national parliament “will endorse the decision which will create new opportunities for faster recovery of SMEs and MidCaps in Croatia and across the EU.”
HBOR management board chairwoman Tamara Perko was quoted as saying that “since the end of March, HBOR has, within the framework of COVID-19 measures, approved loans in the total amount exceeding HRK 1 billion to companies affected by the pandemic.”
“The funds for working capital loans from HBOR’s sources are approved at an interest rate from 0%, and the contract signed today will provide us with an additional source to continue implementing such favourable lending conditions.”
Since 2001, the EU bank and the Croatian development bank have signed 23 contracts worth €3 billion, including 17 financial contracts worth in excess of € 2,8 billion in support of SMEs and MidCaps in key sectors of national economy including: infrastructure energy efficiency, and environment protection.