The FINANCIAL — €1 billion in new financial resources will be made available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps thanks to an agreement between the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and Alba Leasing. The EIB and its subsidiary the European Investment Fund (EIF) have provided the corporate leasing specialist with €490 million via a securitisation financing operation. Alba Leasing has undertaken to double this, increasing the total amount available to almost €1 billion (€980 million) for projects across all economic sectors, with a particular focus on environmental investments (for which 20% of the resources have been reserved).
In concrete terms, the securitisation operation concerns a portfolio of performing loans held by Alba Leasing, for which the EIB Group has subscribed senior and mezzanine securities totalling €490 million (EIB €440 million, EIF €50 million). At least two-thirds of the total will go to financial leasing investments by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (fewer than 250 employees), while a third will go to mid-caps (up to 3 000 employees).
Around 10% of the operation (€50 million) will be covered by the Investment Plan for Europe guarantee.
The final amount available will make it possible to finance up to 100% of new investments and projects, with a maximum of €12.5 million for each leasing operation.
Projects may include the purchase of plant, equipment, motor vehicles, machinery, existing or new buildings, cars and other vehicles for professional purposes. 8 000 Italian businesses are expected to benefit from these new resources.
Green projects will be financed in the areas of energy efficiency, energy generation from renewable sources, natural resource conservation measures in specific sectors such as agriculture, livestock, public and private transport, waste collection and treatment, and operations aimed at reducing emissions and the impacts of climate change.
For the EIB, this operation falls under several of its traditional areas of activity: support for SMEs and mid-caps, thanks to the partnership with financial operators, and its commitment as the climate bank, protecting the environment and combating climate change.
For Alba Leasing, the agreement consolidates its existing relationship with the EIB, enabling it to offer its customers new financing with particularly competitive terms compared to standard finance, as a result of the advantages of the EIB’s bond funding (triple-A rating from the main rating agencies).
European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “The European Union continues to work hand in hand with the private sector to provide new financing opportunities for Italian SMEs and mid-caps. Thanks to the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the EIB, 8 000 SMEs and mid-caps across Italy will receive support for their investment projects to help them recover from the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and to make a success of the green transition.”
“This operation intensifies the EIB Group’s cooperation with Alba Leasing, a key partner to support the activity of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises located throughout Italy through leasing operations on favourable financial terms. A particular focus will be placed on environmental investments, a key pillar of the EU bank’s activities,” said EIB Vice-President and EIF Chairman Dario Scannapieco.
“We aim to take concrete measures to help businesses, even more so at this precarious time for Italian entrepreneurs,” added Alba Leasing Chairman Luigi Roth. “We are convinced that leasing can jump-start business recovery and the new funds made available by the European Investment Bank will do precisely this, also with the resolutely green focus of the EIB agreement.”
Alba Leasing is a leasing finance specialist owned by Banco BPM S.p.A. (39.19%), BPER Banca S.p.A. (33.50%), Banca Popolare di Sondrio S.c.p.a. (19.26%) and Credito Valtellinese S.p.A. (8.05%). Alba Leasing offers a full range of leasing products – equipment, vehicle, real estate, energy, subsidised and operational leasing – marketed via a distribution network of over 6 300 full branches of shareholder and partner banks. In 2019, it signed 13 000 contracts for a total of €1.5 billion.