The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Amen Bank have signed the first InnovFin agreement in Tunisia to provide EUR 60 million to innovative Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps.
The InnovFin agreement will help Amen Bank to provide financing to innovative companies via new partnerships with universities, science and technology parks and business incubators in Tunisia over the next two years. The InnovFin guarantee provided by the EIF and backed by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, covers 50% of each loan helping ease the cost of financing to SMEs. These innovative Tunisian SMEs can benefit from financing solutions at more attractive conditions, including with reduced collateral requirements, longer maturities and better financing rates.
Commenting on the signature, the EIF’s Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “I am delighted to be signing our first InnovFin agreement in Tunisia to support companies across the country. Amen Bank is Tunisia's first fully private bank and we are pleased that this new agreement will help the bank to support innovative companies. Today’s agreement will enable the Bank to expand its financing activities, to benefit innovative Tunisian companies.”
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “I am very pleased that this agreement will allow Tunisian businesses to take higher risks and invest more in building up the country's economy. Today's deal is a testimony to the productive relationship between the EU and third countries under Horizon 2020, which is open to the world.”
Ahmed El Karm, President of Amen Bank, said: “The signature of this agreement marks the consolidation of privileged financial relations between EU financing institutions and Amen Bank. This agreement brings numerous advantages, allowing guarantees to help the Tunisian economy to become more diversified with a stronger focus on innovation. It helps Amen Bank to confirm its position as the number one financial institution in Tunisia working with International Financing Institutions”.
The aim of the InnovFin SME Guarantee is to encourage banks or other financial institutions to lend to SMEs and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees) in need of investment and/or operating capital to finance research, development and innovation activities, with EU financial support. Financial institutions are being selected by the EIF following a call for expression of interest for financial intermediaries across Europe.
About the EIF
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.
About Amen Bank
Amen Bank is the third largest bank in Tunisia. At the end of 2016, it held total assets of TND 8.2 billion and TND 5.1 billion in deposits. Amen Bank comprises 164 branches and seven majority-owned subsidiaries involved in various areas of finance. Amen Bank is a leader in several market niches such as trade finance, FX transactions, project and company finance and internet banking. For more information, please visit: www.amenbank.com
The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility is established under the “EU InnovFin Finance for Innovators” initiative developed under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between EUR 25,000 and EUR 7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative SMEs and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by the EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by the EU and the EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.
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Mr Khaled Mokaddem
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