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The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) will support three private equity funds in Croatia and unlock up to €205 million of investments in growth, expansion, innovation and

improved international competitiveness of local SMEs and small mid-caps.

The EIF will blend own funds with HBOR and EU funds to invest €70 million into the Prosperus Growth Fund, the Adriatic Structured Equity Fund and the Croatian Mezzanine Debt Fund. The investment will narrow a substantial market gap for alternative funding sources for SMEs and mid-caps in Croatia and expand financing options available to local companies as they recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The operation stems from the €80 million-strong Croatian Growth and Investment Programme (CROGIP), launched by the EIF and HBOR in 2019 and delivers on CROGIPs founding pledge to diversify financing options for Croatian SMEs and midcaps and support development of the national private equity ecosystem.

The average size of investment ticket available is expected to range between two and eight million euros.

European Commission Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “The European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group continue to help small and medium-sized companies face the devastating socio-economic effects of the coronavirus crisis. The more we protect businesses and jobs now, the faster the economic recovery will be. Today's agreement will make a big difference to many companies in Croatia, both SMEs and mid-caps, by making more than €200 million in fresh financing available to them at this challenging time.”

Alain Godard, Chief Executive of the EIF said: “It's a great pleasure to see our partnership with HBOR trough CROGIP delivering on its pledge to create additional sources of financing for Croatian SMEs and midcaps, further modernize financial market in Croatia and level it up with the EU standards. This is just one of the examples of how EIFs cooperation with HBOR transforms Croatia into an even better place to do business, and I am proud of the EIF`s growing role in this process. We look forward continuing as one of the key facilitators of Croatia`s sustainable development, especially supporting SMEs and MidCaps recover faster from Covid-19 pandemic.”

Tamara Perko, President of HBOR's Management Board, said: “It makes us very proud that HBOR took part in the establishment of the funds, through which entrepreneurs will have an alternative form of financing. Since the private equity market in Croatia is still underdeveloped, HBOR initiated a number of activities for promoting the development of this form of financing. With HBOR's support, a venture capital fund intended for start-ups began to operate last year (FRC2 Croatia Partners). With the establishment of these three funds, alternative forms of financing will be made possible from this autumn onwards for more mature companies as well, regardless of the sector they operate in.

Today's agreement will also help Croatia improve its position in terms of share of private equity investment in gross domestic product (GDP).

The EIF-HBOR cooperation will improve financing options for Croatian SMEs and midcaps, and modernize local financial market. It will introduce alternative financing solutions, flexible transaction structures and repayment schedules and create alternative financing solutions for SMEs and MidCaps under more flexible transaction structures and repayment schedules, all key prerequisites for sustainable economic growth and development.

The operation introduces three new private equity funds to Croatian financial market and blends resources from CROGIP, the EIF and the European Union`s European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe.