By Edwig Ban
The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), comprising the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its subsidiary, the European Investment Fund (EIF), provided 1.311bn euro in loans, guarantees, equity and microfinance operations in Romania in 2018, Minister of Public Finance Eugen Teodorovici told a press conference on Wednesday.
‘Just like in the previous years, in 2018 too EIB Group has shown that it brings added value in the various stages of the economic cycle, in support of EU policies and the relaunch of economic growth to create new jobs. Thus, the EIB extended new loans to Romania worth a total of 981 million euro, and the EIF funded equity capital, guarantees and micro-finance commitments amounting to 329 million euro for the development of important projects throughout the country. Romania wishes to further benefit from the diversity of financing instruments and modality the Bank makes available to the member states, with emphasis on those assisting in the increase of EU funds absorption. Just as we have stated, 2019 must be a year of investments. In this regard, we invite the EIB Group to strengthen our partnership, for a substantive and balanced financial support directed to both the public and the private sector,’ Teodorovici said.
According to a release of the Finance Ministry, the EIB signed new loan contracts worth 981 million euro, while the EIF committed 329 million euro in three equity, 13 guarantee and three microfinance operations. The amounts committed by the EIB Group will benefit some 8,800 small businesses, companies that are supporting approximately 200,000 jobs in Romania.
‘As Finance Minister, EIB Governor for Romania and Chairman of the Board of Governors, I would like to express our readiness to explore, together with the EIB and the other member states, more balanced ways of distributing financial resources based on the Bank’s already proven capacity to adapt, in order to continuously contribute to the EU policies and objectives. Institutionally, we rely on our strong partnership with the EIB in Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council, at a time marked by events with institutional and financial implications for the Union, implicitly on the Bank, such as Brexit or the negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (post-2020 MFF). We encourage an effective interinstitutional dialogue with good communication with all of the stakeholders in shaping a balanced architecture of the EU budget by different areas and instruments, both inside and outside the EU after 2020,’ said Teodorovici.
The EIB Group support in 2018 represented some 0.64 pct of Romania’s GDP, with the country ranking 11th among the EU member states in terms of volume of EIB Group activities, said EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell.
An increasing part of the EIB Group’s financing in Romania was made possible by the Investment Plan for Europe, launched in 2015. Under this Plan, the EIB provides financing backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), as well as advice via the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH). By end-2018, the EIB Group had approved 652m euro worth of projects backed by EFSI guarantees, triggering potential investments of EUR 2.66bn.
‘2018 was a very successful year for the EIB Group in Romania. We provided well-balanced support totalling 1.3bn euro to the country, financing both public sector projects and – increasingly – private corporates and SMEs, often through guarantees from the Investment Plan for Europe. Almost 9 000 businesses benefited from our operations, which supported some 200,000 jobs. This year, an innovative transaction backed by the Investment Plan for Europe enabled the EIB – for the first time in the EU – to provide a loan dedicated to supporting businesses led by female entrepreneurs. In addition, we cooperate closely with Romanian authorities and companies, and deliver advisory services fostering the preparation and implementation of priority projects,’ said Andrew McDowell.
Last year the EU Bank provided a 68m euro loan to white goods producer Arctic to finance the construction of a large-scale innovative washing machine production plant, and signed a 50m euro first tranche of a 150m euro loan with Transgaz to support a new pipeline to link Romania’s natural gas resources on the shores of the Black Sea. The EIB lent 10m euro to Radiocom to support the roll-out of a digital TV broadcasting network and 150m euro to Warehouses De Pauw to finance the construction of warehouses in Romania’s convergence regions.
By Edwig Ban