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JESSICA helps to revitalise six major cities in Bulgaria

Banque européenne d'investissement - BEI/12/1   03/01/2012

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PRESS RELEASE

BEI/12/1

3 January 2012

JESSICA helps to revitalise six major cities in Bulgaria

The European Investment Bank (EIB), in its capacity as the Manager of the JESSICA Holding Fund Bulgaria, has concluded an agreement establishing an Urban Development Fund with “Regional Urban Development Fund” (“UDF”) to invest in Urban Projects in six major cities in Bulgaria.

The UDF is established as a joint stock company by Societe Generale Expressbank, Elana Holding, Elana Investment and Balkan Advisors, namely the members of a Consortium led by Société Générale Expressbank, to invest approximately EUR 18.8 million of JESSICA funds and approximately an additional EUR 37.6 million of its own funds (in total EUR 56.4 million) in the next four years into urban projects located in the cities of Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Pleven.

EIB Vice-President Wilhelm Molterer commented: “In addition to lending operations, the EIB provides professional expertise in the framework of the JESSICA initiative, an innovative instrument focused on a more efficient utilisation of EU Structural Funds, which aims to create revolving funds investing in sustainable urban development projects”.

On the basis of their specific experience and know how, the Consortium partners are expected to fulfil the main objectives of the UDF, namely to support sustainable urban transformation investments aimed at more competitive, socially inclusive and sustainable urban areas fostering better quality of life and welfare, as well as improved accessibility to basic public and private services. The JESSICA investment portfolio in the abovementioned six major cities may include projects with the following scope: rehabilitation of deprived urban areas, basic infrastructure works, energy networks and energy efficiency in the context of a wider urban development plan, etc.

The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (“Managing Authority”) established a JESSICA Holding Fund (“HF”) within EIB with the aim to deploying EU Structural Funds for revitalisation investments in city areas. The respective Funding Agreement was signed on 29 July 2010.

Societe Generale Expressbank (“SGEB”): one of the leading Bulgarian banks, subsidiary of the French Société Générale S.A. (“SG”), a major European financial services company with a substantial global presence. Following the SG policy on local markets, SGEB applies the model of universal commercial bank offering to its clientele the full range of banking services. SGEB implements modern banking practices and new technologies to service a wide range of clients, including individuals and liberal profession specialists, small and medium enterprises, large corporate and financial institutions. The long term issuer default rating assigned to SGEB is BBB+ with a positive long term rating perspective.

ELANA Holding: one of the largest non-banking financial groups in Bulgaria and Co-Fund manager of the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency Fund Initiative (“BEEF”). For the last seven years through BEEF, ELANA Holding has been successfully supporting local authorities/municipal administrations and public investments in the field of promoting energy efficiency activities by way of arranging bilateral and syndicated loans, guarantees and other financial products.

ELANA Investment: a leading Bulgarian expert in consulting enterprises and public administration on funding from EU & international donor Programs.

Balkan Advisors: an international investment consulting firm with experience in real estate, media and strategic consulting in Bulgaria and the Balkans.

Background notes:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) is one of the Cohesion Policy Joint Initiatives that were developed by the European Commission to contribute to making EU Cohesion Policy more efficient and sustainable. The JESSICA mechanism is based on cooperation between the Commission, the EIB and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and supports investments in sustainable urban development and regeneration.

This initiative, designed to increase the use of financial engineering instruments, allows Managing Authorities to use part of their European Structural Funds allocations to invest in revolving funds rather than providing one-off grant financing. By so doing, the Authorities can recycle financial resources in order to enhance and accelerate investment in urban areas. These investments, which may take the form of equity, loans, and/or guarantees, are delivered to projects via Urban Development Funds and, if required, Holding Funds.

Press contact:

Dusan Ondrejicka, d.ondrejicka@eib.org, tel.: +352 4379 83334

EIB website: www.eib.org/press - Press office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org


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