Investment Plan backs €500 million in loans for SMEs affected by coronavirus crisis in Austria

  • Guarantee agreement for innovative companies with up to 3,000 employees located in Austria to support the restart of the economy after the corona crisis
  • Maximum loan amount of 7.5 million euros exclusively in Austria with UniCredit Bank Austria for innovative companies, now also specifically in the field of digitisation

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and UniCredit Bank Austria are intensifying their cooperation and extending their existing guarantee agreement from 2019 amounting to half a billion euros for SMEs to include companies with up to 3,000 employees. The focus is on innovations in products, processes or services, production or delivery methods, organisation and processes – in addition, innovations in digitisation have also been explicitly included in the catalogue of criteria. In this way, even more companies should be able to benefit from this attractive subsidized form of financing as part of the new start of the Austrian economy after the Corona crisis.

European Commission Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “The European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group are working together to support small and medium-sized companies to recover from the devastating effects of the coronavirus crisis. The more we protect businesses and jobs now, the faster the economic recovery will be. In addition to support for SMEs, I welcome the focus on digitisation, which alongside the green transition, is at the heart of our economic growth strategy.”

“After the lockdown, it’s time for the restart! And thus nothing less than securing our future prosperity in the long term,” says Susanne Wendler, Member of the Management Board of Unternehmerbank at UniCredit Bank Austria. “Right now we are setting the course to support business areas and companies with subsidised loans that can continue to be successful on the global market in the future. We banks want to and can make an important contribution here!“.

Alian Godard, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund, emphasizes: “Especially now, in the period of the new start after the Corona crisis, guaranteed financing in the amount of €500 million for companies is a significant contribution to strengthening the economy in Austria. We are convinced that this will support innovative projects of Austrian companies that will be able to hold their own on the world market in the long term. UniCredit Bank Austria has been a successful partner of the European Investment Fund for many years and I am therefore particularly pleased that we can now jointly support companies with up to 3,000 employees and innovations in digitisation.“

We are the only commercial bank in Austria that can support its customers with these extremely valuable guarantees,” Wendler said. “The InnovFin initiative enables us to provide loans to innovation and research-oriented companies at very favourable conditions, as we pass on the cost benefits of the guarantee one to one. UniCredit Bank Austria is thus opening up further financing opportunities for future-oriented companies, thus underlining its role as a reliable partner for Austrian companies even in the difficult period following the Corona crisis. Recently, UniCredit Bank Austria processed InnovFin loans of around 23 million euros to support progressive companies. “

Background information

About the EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its core mission is to help European micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access finance. The EIF develops and implements venture and growth capital, guarantee and microfinance instruments for this target group. The EIF thus promotes the European Union’s objectives in terms of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.

About UniCredit Bank Austria

UniCredit Bank Austria is part of UniCredit, a simple and successful pan-European commercial bank with fully integrated Corporate & Investment Banking, which offers its diversified customer base a unique network in Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe. UniCredit combines in-depth local expertise with international reach. Through its European banking network, it offers its customers unique access to leading banks in 14 core markets: Italy, Germany, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey. With its international network of representative offices and branches, UniCredit supports customers in another 18 countries worldwide.

Investment Plan for Europe

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. It provides first loss guarantees enabling the EIB to invest in more, often riskier projects. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI are expected to mobilise €514 bn in investment, supporting over 1.4 million start-ups and SMEs across the EU.

About InnovFin

The InnovFin SME Loan Guarantee Facility provides guarantees and counter-guarantees for debt financing with a volume of EUR 25,000 up to EUR 7.5m to facilitate access to debt financing for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps (up to 2,999 employees). InnovFin SME Guarantee is provided by the EIF and implemented through financial intermediaries (banks and other financial institutions) within the EU and associated countries. Through InnovFin SME Guarantee, financial intermediaries are guaranteed part of the loan default by the EIF.