EIF, UBB and the European Commission Extend Cooperation to Unlock EUR 767 million for Bulgarian MSMEs
- EIF and UBB Bank extend existing COSME guarantees to unlock fresh EUR 400 million of loans and leases for Bulgarian MSMEs
- With the extension, the total amount of the EIF/COSME-guaranteed loans at the UBB is now EUR 768 million
- The agreement introduces two new specific guarantee envelopes under the COSME programme to Bulgaria – COSME Digitalization Pilot and COSME Covid-19
- European Investment Fund is a part of the European Investment Bank Group
Micro, small and medium enterprises in Bulgaria will have the opportunity to finance their growth and business development plans, digital transformation and post-Covid19 recovery making available loans with more flexible terms, as the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the UBB agreed to more than double the existing guarantee agreement to cover new UBB MSME loans for EUR 400 million.
The loan guarantees are provided by the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) programme, launched by the European Commission, to improve access to finance for SMEs.
The agreement brings the total amount of COSME-guaranteed loans available to MSMEs financed by UBB to EUR 768 million (BGN 1.5 billion). It also introduces two new guarantee initiatives under the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility in Bulgaria: COSME COVID-19 and COSME Digitalization, designed to support SMEs recover from Covid-19 and digitalize their business operation.
Bulgarian SMES will be able to apply and benefit from COSME-guaranteed loans at the UBB until 30th September 2023.
Lilyana Pavlova, Vice President of the European Investment Bank: “The agreement between the European Investment Fund and UBB, guaranteed by the European Commission, brings a fresh 400 million euros in more affordable financing to Bulgarian MSMEs. These funds will support MSMEs to finance development and growth plans, preserve jobs and digitalize their businesses. Together with our EU and UBB partners we have unlocked new opportunities for faster economic and social development of Bulgaria and faster recovery from Covid19.”
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market added: “Through the coronavirus support under the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility the Commission and the EIF have made immediate liquidity available to micro, small and medium-sized companies. During this very challenging time for many companies, especially small ones, we are fully mobilized to support Bulgarian companies to digitalise their business operation and get swift access to finance for their recovery.”
Peter Andronov, Chief Executive Director of UBB and Country Manager of KBC Group in Bulgaria, said: „Up to this point UBB has provided financing for more than 4,000 transactions under the COSME programme with a total amount of more than BGN 800 million. The new Annex, which enables the bank to create a total portfolio of more than BGN 1.5 billion under the COSME programme including this two new guarantee envelopes, is a natural continuation of the successful cooperation between UBB and EIF in support of the development, capacity advancement and betterment of the processes of the small and medium businesses in Bulgaria. “, commented.
UBB was the first bank in Bulgaria to offer financial products guaranteed by the COSME Digitalisation Pilot and COSME COVID-19 Support Measures, both additional financing under the COSME programme launched by the European Commission and implemented by the EIF. COSME Digitalisation Pilot supports digitalisation of small and medium enterprises in Europe by guaranteeing 70% of eligible loans provided by banks, while COSME COVID-19 Support Measures, provides guarantees for 80% of loans for recovery from Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the COSME Covid-19 guarantee program, the UBB plans to support Bulgarian SMEs with loans worth EUR 125 million (BGN 245 million).