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CEB to support Italian businesses through € 290 million loan to Cassa depositi e prestiti

30 January 2018

PARIS – The Administrative Council of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved a € 290 million loan to Cassa depositi e prestiti (CDP) in order to provide financing to Italian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). 

MSMEs are an important driver of economic growth in Italy at a time when unemployment remains high at 11 percent, rising to 35 percent in the group of under-25-year-olds. During the global economic and financial crisis, the MSME sector showed resilience and even increased its share of the total workforce, covering today 80 percent of the total number of persons employed in the country. 

Recognising the positive contribution of the MSME sector to job creation and economic growth, the Italian government has taken a series of measures to facilitate MSME access to credit and increase their competitiveness. It is in this context that CEB funds will benefit small businesses through CDP’s € 7 billion “Plafond Beni Strumentali” apex facility, for a total of up to € 2 million for each eligible business. 

The funds provided by the CEB will be used by end-beneficiaries for productive investments, including the acquisition and upgrading of office and production premises, software and digital technology investments, vehicles, machinery and other equipment. 

With this loan, the CEB and CDP are further strengthening their cooperation aimed at supporting social development in Italy. This is the second CEB loan to CDP in support of the latter’s “Plafond Beni Strumentali” apex facility, having approved in 2016 a € 150 million loan for that purpose. Earlier this month, the CEB and CDP signed a € 350 million loan agreement to support Central Italy’s earthquake-stricken areas. 

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “Job creation and preservation is one of the CEB’s top priorities. With the approval of this loan, we will provide access to financing for a large number of MSMEs and support entrepreneurial activity in Italy. In this way, CEB funds will make a contribution to employment growth and help create jobs in the country. We are glad to be working again with CDP, a valuable CEB partner, in order to make sure that we reach a maximum number of beneficiaries.” 

Cassa depositi e prestiti (CDP) is Italy’s National Promotional Institution that has supported the Italian economy since 1850. It finances public investments, nurtures international cooperation and is the catalyst for the country’s infrastructure growth. It backs Italian enterprises, helping them to innovate and grow, while fostering their exports and international expansion. As the primary operator in social and affordable housing, CDP contributes to the growth of the Italian real estate sector and promotes urban transformation. CDP’s important stimulative role in Italy’s economy is evident in its 2016-2020 Business Plan. During this five-year period, CDP will inject € 160 billion, plus over € 100 billion through public and private funds, into the economy to help drive growth.

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 positive 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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