CEB and ICO provide 334 million euros to support Spanish SMEs and self-employed

23 April 2020

PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and Instituto de Crédito Oficial, Entidad Pública Empresarial (ICO), today signed an agreement through which the CEB grants a loan of 300 million euros to ICO to finance Spanish MSME projects. Under this agreement, a total of 334 million euros will be made available to small and medium-sized companies and self-employed persons, as ICO will supplement the funds obtained from the CEB with 34 million euros.

The loan provided by the CEB, which ICO will channel through its “second-floor facilities”, aims to support the Spanish government’s efforts to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 on Spanish SMEs. The funds will give them access to liquidity and finance their long-term investment projects and working capital needs while also enabling them to maintain their employees.

Job creation and preservation through supporting MSMEs is a priority area of financing for the CEB, particularly in the current economic context. In Spain, SMEs play a major role in the country’s non-financial business economy, as they generate 72% of total employment.   

This is the fifth agreement signed between the two institutions. With the four previous agreements, the CEB and ICO provided over 2.3 billion euros to support SMEs and the self-employed and financed over 60,000 operations.

The signing of this agreement was carried out via electronic signatures in compliance with COVID-19 lockdown conditions in Spain and France.

The Governor of the CEB, Rolf Wenzel, said: “In the current difficult circumstances, supporting small businesses and helping to maintain jobs is of paramount importance. The CEB is fully committed to this and the loan agreement signed today with our long-standing partner ICO is a testament to our commitment. The CEB is doing its utmost to support Spain and all other member countries through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

The Chairman of Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), José Carlos García de Quevedo said: “The loan agreement signed today shows the commitment of cooperation that both institutions have maintained for years and that in the current context acquires special relevance. Both ICO and CEB are working to facilitate access to credit and liquidity for companies and the self-employed in order to deal with the economic and social impact of COVID-19 and preserve jobs. For ICO it is a priority to channel funds towards our business network, focusing on smaller companies. There is no doubt that operations such as the one signed today with CEB are fundamental to achieving this objective”.

About ICO:

Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO - is a corporate state-owned entity attached to the Spanish Government’s Ministry of Economy and Business. ICO has become a reference entity for the financing of both SMEs and large investment projects. ICO contributes to inclusive and sustainable growth, promoting those economic activities that, due to their social, cultural, innovative or ecological importance, deserve promotion and development.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.

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