Since the start of 2015, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and equity funds across Europe have signed investment agreements worth over €1 billion which will provide equity financing for businesses. These 31 transactions benefit from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
The new agreements enable fund managers to invest in promising start-ups, SMEs and midcaps, benefitting from early-stage to growth capital investments. By mobilising other investors, including funds from the private sector, this is expected to result in overall investments of more than €12 billion across the EU.
Some examples of where these funds have invested so far include a leading player in the Italian ophthalmic industry, a start-up located in Berlin offering on-demand home services through a global online platform and a start-up with its headquarters in London and an office in Athens providing a hiring software platform, primarily for SMEs, which facilitates and simplifies the recruiting process for employers. Many more are expected to receive similar financing support under EFSI in the coming months.
The resources under the EFSI SME window are being deployed following a significant increase in the EIB Risk Capital Resources (RCR) mandate for equity investments, managed by the EIF.
Speaking at the Brussels event “EFSI boosts innovation”, European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The investment plan for Europe aims at providing the financial instruments that the market is not providing today so that Europe can invest in its future. This is particularly true for SMEs that are lacking equity financing in Europe, so I welcome the news that the EIF has reached €1 billion in equity financing through EFSI.”
European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, said: ” EFSI is already supporting European research and innovation − providing nearly 1 billion euro in financing to R&I projects, through the InnovFin SME Guarantee currently supporting SMEs in research and innovation across 6 EU member states, with many more to come. Over the course of our mandate, Horizon 2020, InnovFin and EFSI will continue to work together with an additional 420 million euro from EFSI to back InnovFin instruments.”
Commenting on results achieved in the equity space, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, said: “These are the first EFSI equity transactions signed in Europe. The deals reflect the EIB Group’s commitment to respond swiftly to calls from Member States and the European Commission for a rapid launch of concrete initiatives under EFSI, accelerating lending capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.”
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert commented: “The additional EUR 1 billion investment signed under EFSI gives leading venture capital and mid-market funds an opportunity to target more companies in the coming months, helping to meet demand from their current deal flow and boosting the growth economy. Many of these funds have already started investing in companies, including start-ups, in France, Germany, Italy, the UK and Sweden and we expect to see more investments in other countries soon.”
A full list of equity funds under EFSI can be found on the EIF’s website: EFSI equity transactions
About the European Investment Fund
The European Investment Fund’s (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both 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. EIF’s total net commitments to equity funds amounted to over EUR 8.8bn at end 2014. With investments in over 500 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture and growth funds, including in the high-tech and early-stage segments. In addition to its equity activities EIF’s loan guarantees portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6bn in over 350 operations at end 2014, ranking it as a major European SME guarantee provider and a leading micro-finance guarantor.
(Quelle: The European Investment Fund’s (EIF))