EIF and Mano Bankas sign agreement under InvestEU
- A new portfolio guarantee agreement has been signed under the European Commission’s InvestEU programme by the EIF and the Lithuanian bank Mano Bankas, which will guarantee more than €40 million in new business loans.
- This is the first financial institution in Lithuania to sign such an agreement fostering innovation, sustainability projects, jobs and growth.
Mano Bankas, a Lithuanian-owned specialised bank, has become the first financial institution in Lithuania to sign a portfolio guarantee agreement under the new InvestEU programme to guarantee more than €40 million in new loans for businesses. InvestEU aims to stimulate €372 billion of additional investment in sustainability projects, innovation and job creation across the European Union. The main implementing partner for InvestEU is the EIB Group, which consists of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF).
Loans for two key EU policy priorities, with a strong focus on sustainability
With the agreement between the EIF and Mano Bankas signed on 13 October in Luxembourg, the EIF will provide guarantees for loans under two key policy areas. The sustainability guarantee will support more than €25 million of new debt financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to contribute to Europe’s green transition. Projects to make services, products and infrastructure more accessible for people with disabilities are also eligible for these investments. A further €15 million of loans under the SME competitiveness guarantee will support small businesses that were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and have managed to stabilise their operations but need additional financing to refinance debt, strengthen working capital reserves and/or further invest in ongoing projects.
Aurimas Putna, a member of the board at Mano Bankas, said: “The guarantees and loans with a sustainability focus are particularly important for the market right now as the bank can begin financing renewable energy projects more confidently and earlier for the development and construction of new power plants as well as modernisation work, capacity increases and the like at existing plants.”
Helping businesses access finance to contribute to the green transition is important for achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal. Putna notes that Mano Bankas has been a climate-neutral bank since 2021 and considers financing sustainable business as one of its priorities. “Right now it is critically important to increase Lithuania’s energy independence, so the €20 million guarantee obtained for green transformation is very much needed.”
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy that Works for People, said: “The new InvestEU programme can help businesses gain access to the funds they need to innovate, grow and create jobs. This is important for businesses, especially smaller ones, that can make a meaningful contribution towards achieving our climate objectives. I am pleased to see InvestEU support entrepreneurs across Europe in unlocking funds that will help them to achieve their full potential — and to see Mano Bankas become the first financial institution to do so in Lithuania.”
The EIF Deputy Chief Executive Roger Havenith said: “We are very happy to be renewing our partnership with Mano Bankas, this time under the InvestEU programme. This agreement is designed to channel financing to Lithuanian businesses to help them overcome the economic fallout of the pandemic but also businesses that are pursuing a green and sustainable transition. Given the current energy challenges that we are facing across Europe and more specifically in the Baltics, we are confident this collaboration can generate financial support that will allow these businesses to take important steps forward in the green transition.”
EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, responsible for innovation, said: “Invest EU brings much-needed finance for modernisation and the green, digital and inclusive transition to Lithuanian and European businesses alike, so they can continue to provide jobs, increase competitiveness and accelerate the economic and social development of the European Union. By bringing together several EU financial instruments under one umbrella and making it easier for businesses to access funds and technical assistance, InvestEU is a long-term investment in a strong, sustainable, energy independent and globally competitive Europe. The EIB is very proud to work alongside the European Commission in modernising the European economy, as the lead implementing and financial advisory arm of the InvestEU programme.”
EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros, responsible for Lithuania, said: “This agreement with Mano Bankas is a milestone in terms of EU support for a Lithuanian bank using the InvestEU instrument. It demonstrates that the EIB Group stands ready to do its part in supporting innovation, strengthening competitiveness and boosting jobs and growth in Lithuania and across Europe. InvestEU supports much-needed financing for businesses, innovation and infrastructure. It helps to accelerate the transition to a green and sustainable economy.”
Previous loan programme exceeded demand expectations
Mano Bankas will manage and administer the loan portfolio independently and make decisions on lending and providing guarantees. The new agreement is the second joint project of the EIF and Mano Bankas. Under the Pan-European Guarantee Fund (EGF) guarantee, the bank granted €50 million of new loans to its customers. Demand for the loans exceeded the agreed amount, which Mano Bankas planned to lend to businesses in the course of a year but in fact disbursed within several months.
“The first agreement signed with the EIF last autumn marked the start of our successful cooperation. We are delighted to be able to help Lithuanian companies implement sustainability and greening projects faster,” said Putna. “The new EIF guarantee is for loans that promote the implementation of the European Green Deal. Very importantly, we are obtaining not just a guarantee, but also clear criteria for what type of loan is considered sustainable. In this way, we will not only be strengthening the sustainable part of our portfolio but will also be contributing directly to promoting a greener economy.”