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CEB and Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland sign € 200 million loan agreement to support SMEs

15 December 2016

PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is lending € 200 million to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) in order to support Irish SMEs. 

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) account for 70% of jobs in the Irish private sector and hence can make a major contribution to job creation and preservation in a country with a high unemployment rate, particularly in rural areas. 

The CEB loan will facilitate access to financing for a large number of SMEs across the country, thus contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery on a national scale. 

The funds may be used, among other things, for the acquisition of fixed assets and productive equipment, such as motor vehicles, IT and office equipment, and the renovation and purchase of facilities. They will cover SMEs in a wide range of sectors, including wholesale trade, industry, manufacturing, retail, and the marketing of agricultural food products. 

The SBCI was established in 2014. It is mandated as a wholesale market entity to source funding and channel financing to Irish SMEs through long-term loans to on-lenders. 

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “Job creation and preservation is one of the CEB’s main sectoral lines of action and a priority in the current economic context in Europe. With this loan agreement, the CEB, along with its new partner SBCI, will be making an important contribution to Ireland’s rapid economic recovery.” 

SBCI CEO Nick Ashmore said: “Our new funding arrangements will allow us to support even more SMEs and bring even greater competition to the SME lending market.” 

Ireland has been a CEB member since 2004. Since joining, the country has had loans approved for social projects in various sectors. The two areas which have so far benefited the most from CEB funding are social housing for low-income persons and public infrastructure, particularly administrative and judicial facilities.

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 (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, 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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