Rome, 25 June 2014 - Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) announces that the Board of Directors, meeting today under the chairmanship of Franco Bassanini, has authorized an investment commitment of up to €70 million in the share capital of the European Investment Fund (EIF).
The EIF is a financial entity of the European Union established as a public-private partnership, in which the European Investment Bank (EIB) holds 62.1%, the European Union – through the European Commission – holds 30% and 25 public and private financial institutions, including long-term investors such as KFW, BPI/CDC and ICO, hold the remainder.
CDP’s investment, which is subject to approval by the General Meeting of EIF shareholders, would be implemented through the purchase of shares from the EIB as part of the capitalization project undertaken by the EIF in order to expand its efforts to support European SMEs. That project envisages opening the Fund’s capital to additional institutional investors and carrying out a capital increase of €1.5 billion - authorised on 27 May this year by the General Meeting – restricted to existing EIF shareholders.
The mission of the Fund is to support the creation, growth and development of Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises using equity capital instruments and guarantees. To date, the Fund has provided support to more than a million European SMEs.
In addition to strengthening partnerships with leading European institutional investors, CDP is investing in the EIF in order to expand its support to SMEs, a segment in which CDP is already active with a variety of programmes, including the SME support funds and the Fondo italiano d’investimento (FII), as well as other instruments now being structured, including two new funds of funds sponsored by Fondo Italiano d’Investimento SGR that will focus respectively on the private debt and venture capital segments.
The EIF has in fact been working with the FII since 2010. This collaboration has led to the completion of ten separate investments in a variety of investment funds, with a total commitment of €495 million (€275 million from the EIF and €220 million from the FII).
With this new investment, CDP intends to make a contribution to achieving the objectives of the European Investment Fund, which aspires to become a cornerstone investor in the venture capital and growth capital markets, a key partner in the micro-finance sector and a facilitator for SME’s seeking to access the banking system.