Investment Plan: EIF and HBOR launch new equity investment programme in Croatia for SMEs and midcaps

31 January 2019

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and HBOR are launching [CROGIP], a €70 million-investment programme to support fast-growing SMEs and mid-caps established and operating in Croatia. The investment programme is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe. This programme follows the launch of the CVCI ESIF Croatia programme in June 2018. This fund was developed by EIF and the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds to tackle the early stage funding gap in the country. The CVCI programme consists of €35m and will take the form of a venture capital fund with an accelerator compartment for seed stage investments. CROGIP comes in addition to this and completes a holistic strategy for Croatia by targeting later stage growth equity, SMEs and mid-caps.

EIF and HBOR will each commit €35 million to finance this jointly developed programme and the combined commitments of €70 million are expected to catalyse additional private-sector investments into equity funds. A key programme objective is to support the emergence of fund managers, which focus a significant part of their investments into Croatian SMEs and midcaps.

EIF will manage and deploy the [CROGIP] programme, through fund investments and co-investments into target companies. The programme is not restricted to any particular sector. The investment programme will also seek to support emerging teams established in Croatia and specifically focused on the country through a Call for Expression of Interest with the objective to select such fund managers.

[CROGIP] is a financing programme launched by the EIF under the EIF-NPI Equity Platform, of which both EIF and HBOR are founding members, and the Investment Plan for Europe, in cooperation with EU National Promotional Institutions.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Equity funds play an essential role in ensuring that European small and medium businesses have a better access to financial markets. I am very pleased that the Investment Plan is backing this new programme, which will support investments in Croatia and help boost employment in the country".

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am delighted to sign a new €70 million equity programme to support high-growth Croatian businesses. This new agreement will support the emergence of a sustainable private equity market in Croatia and to attract private investors to this market, by helping both national and international fund managers to target SMEs and midcaps.”

Tamara Perko, President of HBOR’s Management Board, said: “The agreement signed today represents the continuation of venture capital industry development in the Republic of Croatia that is supported and initiated by HBOR as development bank for the purpose of establishing independent functioning of the financial market of this type.”

About the European Investment Fund

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 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.

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan for Europe, or Juncker Plan, is one of the European Commission's top priorities. It focuses on boosting investments to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It provides a first loss guarantee, allowing the EIB Group to invest in more, often riskier, projects. The EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise more than €371billion in investments, including €998 million in Croatia, and support around 856,000 SMEs across all 28 Member States.

About HBOR

HBOR is the development and export bank of the Republic of Croatia. Within the Croatian banking system, HBOR plays the role of a development and export bank established with the objective of financing the reconstruction and development of the Croatian economy.

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