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EUR 25 million for Albanian SMEs with a guarantee from the EU
10/7/2019


PRESS RELEASE


Luxembourg/Tirana, 10 July 2019 


EUR 25 million for Albanian SMEs with a guarantee from the EU


Agreement between the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Alpha Bank Albania 
First transaction in Albania  under the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility, the EU’s programme supporting
        the SMEs’ access to finance
Around 200 SMEs will benefit of new financing at more favourable conditions



The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Alpha Bank Albania have signed a Euro 25 million agreement for the financing of Albanian SMEs, as part of the EU’s COSME Loan Guarantee Facility programme that supports SMEs’ access to financing. This is the first COSME programme agreement to be signed in Albania.
Under this agreement, Alpha Bank Albania from October 1, 2019 will grant loans to Albanian SMEs with limited available collateral, with the backing of COSME guarantees. It is expected that approximately 200 businesses will benefit from new financing, with reduced collateral requirements, at more favorable conditions.

Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: “Small and medium businesses everywhere need better access to finance to create jobs, growth and turn their ideas into concrete projects. Albania is now the 32nd country where small and medium companies can have access to debt finance guaranteed by the EU and I am very happy to see that more than 200 Albanian companies will now benefit from a better access to finance thanks to the EU. Overall, COSME loan guarantees provide over EUR 25 billion of financing to more than 450,000 European SMEs.”

Pier Luigi Gilibert, EIF Chief Executive, added: “EIF is delighted to be signing the first COSME guarantee agreement in Albania. Supporting small businesses and creating jobs lies at the heart of EIF’s strategy and we are confident that this new transaction will contribute to driving growth in Albania”.

Georgios Papanastasiou, Chief Executive Officer of Alpha Bank Albania, said: “I am pleased to announce the signing of the agreement between the EIF and Alpha Bank Albania, which reflects a genuine partnership in the interest of enhancing financial stability for SMEs across all business sectors in Albania. We are delighted to be the chosen partner for the first transaction in the country under COSME, and we look forward to delivering our ambitious strategy, by putting the Bank’ nationwide infrastructure to the disposal of SMEs, so that they can seize this unique opportunity and access financing with favourable financial terms and reduced collateral requirements. We strongly believe that this EU financial instrument – that provides financing of up to Euro 25 million – will help accelerate the development of SMEs in terms of formalisation, competitiveness and economic growth”.


About 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. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments, which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

About Alpha Bank
Alpha Bank Albania has been operating in Albania since January 1998. It is part of the Alpha Bank Group, one of the leading Groups of the financial sector in Greece, which offers a wide range of high-quality financial products and services. 
Alpha Bank Albania is one of the largest banks in the country, with considerable market share in wholesale and retail business. The Bank’s aim is to maintain a robust capital base in order to sustain its development and maintain the trust of depositors, markets and business partners. With its continuous high liquidity ratios, Alpha Bank Albania has been a self-funding bank with a positive deposit-loan gap per currency and all currencies, for many years. 

About COSME
COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of €2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to easing access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise almost EUR 21 billion of loans and more than EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 384 000 SMEs in Europe.


Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/.


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