EIB and BNP Paribas Leasing sign €200m loan to support SMEs in Poland
The large majority of BNP Paribas Leasing Services’ new lending will go to cohesion regions, thus helping to reduce disparities in Europe.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and BNP Paribas Leasing Services, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas Bank Polska, have signed a loan agreement of €200 million to back lending to small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs and midCaps) in Poland. The operation builds on the EIB's successful track record in supporting companies of this size through loans to financial partner institutions. It addresses a clear gap in the Polish market: according to an EIB poll, 12% of companies in the country find it hard to get external financing. In addition, every fifth smaller business in Poland was rejected when applying for a bank loan in 2020. The EU average is significantly lower.
The large majority of BNP Paribas Leasing Services' new lending will go to cohesion regions, thus helping to reduce disparities in Europe. In addition, some 20% of the EIB financing will contribute to the fight against climate change. Possible green investments include the financing of photovoltaic installations, electric and hybrid vehicles, heating pumps and charging stations for electric vehicles. These investments will contribute to Poland's objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will help achieve the target set in its Energy Policy until 2040.
"Poland has a large and diversified economy that is relatively resilient to economic shocks," said EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, who is in charge of operations in Poland. "Still, 16 of its 17 districts are qualified as cohesion with the comparatively low gross domestic product per capita. Building a more climate-friendly economy also requires significant investments. EIB funding to BNP Paribas Leasing Services will encourage a green approach and enhance access to finance for local small and medium companies on better terms, such as reduced interest rates and longer maturities."
Rafał Piskorski, Director General of BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions, said: "The Polish leasing market is recovering very fast after COVID-19 lockdowns froze many investments in 2020. We are very happy to be able to distribute EIB funding to our customers, as it will encourage them to invest even more and create the foundations for much-needed economic growth. We are happy to contribute to green finance, which is a very important factor to make our economy more sustainable and socially responsible."
The operation will be structured as a loan to BNP Paribas Leasing Services under a parent guarantee of BNP Paribas Bank Polska. It will be complemented by collateral in the form of EIB bonds. This is the first time that EIB bonds will be used as financial collateral. This design can provide EIB financial partners with a valuable alternative to classic collateral, which might thus be used for other funding operations.