EIB and ICO join forces to strengthen exports and expansion of Spanish SMEs
Given ICO’s extensive experience in channelling EIB funds, the Spanish entity’s contribution will help to significantly improve access to finance for a wide range of companies that often struggle to access credit.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) join forces once again to strengthen the export activities and international expansion of Spanish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps. These businesses have been particularly impacted by the coronavirus crisis and the mobilisation of targeted funding is essential to help them recover their production capacity. Specifically, the EIB will provide up to €300 million to ICO, which the Spanish entity will supplement with an additional €300 million, bringing the overall volume of financing available to Spanish companies to €600 million.
ICO is one of the EIB's longest-standing clients in Spain, with the first operation signed in 1983. Since then, ICO has acted as an EIB borrower or guarantor in more than 100 operations, primarily in Spain but also in other EU countries.
Given ICO's extensive experience in channelling EIB funds, the Spanish entity's contribution will help to significantly improve access to finance for a wide range of companies that often struggle to access credit. In addition, the agreement will help safeguard jobs following the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, benefiting the particularly hard-hit cohesion regions.
Through this agreement — the third operation of its kind — the EIB will contribute to strengthening ICO Exportadores and ICO Internacional business lines. The previous such agreement led to the signature of 5 000 operations which, according to estimates, helped to safeguard around 240 000 full-time jobs.
Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises is one of the EIB Group's key priorities in Spain. The Bank dedicated €4.195 billion to this goal in 2020, representing 50% of the EIB Group's activity in the country.
EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix, said: "Driving the international expansion of Spanish companies and helping them access new markets is essential for Europe's competitiveness, economic growth and innovation. Such operations are key to protecting European industry and enabling businesses to overcome the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus crisis. We are pleased to be joining forces once again with ICO to mobilise funds and continue to support small and medium-sized enterprises and mid-caps, which will contribute to growth, competitiveness and employability on the Spanish market.
ICO Chairman José Carlos García de Quevedo said: "ICO and the EIB are working together once more to back the growth plans of Spanish companies and promote their international expansion, one of the priority objectives of ICO's activities. The export sector is expected to be one of the key drivers of the economic recovery thanks to the increased competitiveness and international activity of Spanish companies. That is why operations such as the one we are signing today are especially important, as they enable us to contribute to the implementation of the Action Plan for the International Expansion of Spanish Companies and the measures under the National Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan."