Zdravko Marić, Dario Scannapieco, Dušan Tomašević, Goran Filipić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) signed in Zagreb on Mondaya EUR 250 million loan to support the projects of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The loan agreement was signed by EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco and President of the HBOR Managing Board Dusan Tomasevic, who said that this was the second part of a credit line for SMEs totalling EUR 500 million, the first tranche of which was signed in 2014.

The EIB has been supporting the HBOR for 15 years, during which time 15 loan agreements totalling EUR 1.9 billion have been signed, and the HBOR has used the funds to support more than 2,700 projects, Tomasevic said.

Tomasevic noted that the EIB was among the first banks to have offered financing for Croatian SMEs at the height of the economic crisis, which made it possible for the HBOR to strengthen its corporate lending. He said that last year alone the HBOR had granted a record 7.8 billion kuna in loans, the bulk of which were channelled to small and medium-sized enterprises.

In the first half of 2016, the HBOR granted 1,452 loans totalling HRK 4.15 billion, which is 84% more in terms of the number of loans and 2% more in terms of their amount, Tomasevic said.

Scannapieco said that the loan would help implement projects in the areas of industry, services and tourism and other priority sectors, in amounts ranging from HRK 40,000 to HRK 2.5 million.

The loan forms part of the EIB's "Jobs for Youth Initiative", under which the EIB and HBOR will provide additional support to final beneficiaries if they can demonstrate that their investment project financed under the facility has contributed to the creation of jobs for young people.

The signing ceremony was attended by the Minister of Finance and President of the HBOR Supervisory Board, Zdravko Maric, who said that this year the HBOR had withdrawn over EUR 190 million to finance SMEs projects.

Maric said that an increasing number of such loans had been signed in recent months and that the interest in them should be used to boost further growth.

The loan was granted for 12 years, with a grace period of four years and at an interest rate of 0.5%. The interest rate for loan beneficiaries will be between 2% and 4%, depending on the credit line.

(EUR 1 = HRK 7.482907)

Related stories

HBOR cuts interest rates to boost youth employment

HBOR secures EUR 150m for mid-caps

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Latest news

Serbia's EU negotiator says minority rights neglected

The head of the Serbia's European Union accession negotiation team, Tanja Miscevic, said in Novi Sad on Wednesday that minority rights had been neglected for many years and added that positive results in that regard cannot be achieved over night, the Beta news agency has reported. 

Scientists: Nearby star's 7 rocky planets are "best bet" for life

New analysis of telescope data shows a dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth has at least seven apparently rocky planets with potential to harbour water, an international team of scientists announced Wednesday.

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Wednesday with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Dario Scannapieco for talks on the bank's contribution to a new investment cycle in Croatia and its support to the Croatian government to implement key projects, a press release from the government's office said.

Bomb explodes outside police officer's home in Northern Ireland

A bomb exploded outside a police officer's home in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Denmark to charge man with blasphemy over burning Koran

Danish prosecutors said Wednesday they have opened a rare blasphemy case against a man who videotaped himself burning a copy of the Koran.

South Africa to raise taxes for the wealthiest

South Africa will raise the income tax rate for the country's wealthiest to 45 per cent from 41 per cent, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced Wednesday.

Reformist Macron wins support of key centrist leader for French vote

France's reformist presidential hopeful, Emmanuel Macron, got a boost on Wednesday when he picked up the support of a party leader whose centrist constituency played a pivotal role in the last two presidential elections.

Amnesty International warns of nationalist rhetoric and hate speech in Croatia

Croatia continues to have problems with discrimination against ethnic minorities and with freedom of the media, while heightened nationalist rhetoric and hate speech during election time contributed to growing ethnic intolerance and insecurity in the country, global human rights watchdog Amnesty International said in its annual report on the state of human rights in the world in 2016/2017.

Official assigned to Wilders' security team held by Dutch police

A security official assigned to protect Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders is being held by police on suspicion of passing along classified information about the lawmaker to a Dutch-Moroccan crime gang.

100th anniversary of rescuing starving children marked

A special ceremony was held in Zagreb's Croatian National Theatre on Wednesday to mark the 100th anniversary of one of the greatest humanitarian undertakings in the history of the Croatian people which saved children in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from famine in the last two years of World War I.

Italy's 'Red Thing' could make impact in election debut, polls show

Two polls conducted for RAI public broadcaster released Wednesday showed a new entity that split from Italy's ruling Democratic Party

Council: Nixing grants to "Novosti" would cause far-reaching implications

The Council for National Minorities, a state-level autonomous umbrella organisation for all ethnic minorities in Croatia, has stated that the cancellation of financial grants to the "Novosti", a newspaper of the ethnic Serb minority, would produce far-reaching implications and stir criticism for reduction of free speech and of freedom of expression of the most numerous ethnic minority.