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EIB/Banco Popolare: EUR 390 million for the Italian economy

First line of credit in Italy for youth apprenticeships in SMEs, midcaps and local authorities

With three separate agreements totalling EUR 390 million the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Banco Popolare group have stepped up their cooperation in support of the Italian economy: EUR 350 million for projects promoted by SMEs and midcaps and EUR 40 million for loans to companies taking on apprentices, the first operation of its kind in Italy. These agreements come just a few months after the Bank’s previous loans, almost all of which have already been disbursed across the country by subsidiaries of the Italian lending group. Over the past year, the EIB’s aggregate financing in Italy via Banco Popolare amounted to EUR 740 million.

Apprenticeships (EUR 40 million)

The EUR 40 million loan concerns projects by SMEs and midcaps to promote new apprenticeship contracts for young people in the 15-29 age bracket. Specifically, potential beneficiaries include SMEs (up to 250 employees), midcaps (up to 3 000 employees) and public authorities (limited to projects in the teaching and training sector) that satisfy the provisions of Italian Law No. 99/2013 governing youth employment and apprenticeships and therefore meet at least one of the following requirements:

- they have entered into an employment contract with at least one apprentice aged between 15 and 29 (three for midcaps) in the six months preceding the date on which the request for financing was signed or they plan to hire at least one apprentice (three for midcaps) in the six months following that date. This hiring must involve a net increase in staff numbers, i.e. for the purposes of this calculation, retirements − which do not represent a decrease − must not be included;

- they offer internships and/or training programmes for young people;

- they have a cooperation agreement with a technical institute, secondary or vocational school or university to recruit young people;

- at least 50% of their staff complement is composed of young people under the age of 29.

SMEs (EUR 200 million)

The EIB will provide EUR 200 million for Italian SMEs on particularly favourable terms. The loans are intended to finance either new projects or projects in progress. All productive sectors (agriculture, crafts, industry, commerce, tourism and services) are eligible for loans, which can be used to purchase plant, equipment, vehicles or machinery; cover project-related costs, additional charges and intangible assets, including research, development and innovation costs; and provide the working capital that is always needed in connection with operational activities. Banco Popolare will also provide its own resources to beneficiary SMEs, thereby increasing the overall ceiling available in support of Italy’s economy.

Midcaps (EUR 150 million)

The aggregate ceiling of EUR 150 million is intended for customer enterprises with between 250 and 3 000 employees across all productive sectors to finance requirements similar to those described for SMEs.

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB), whose shareholders are the Member States of the European Union (EU), is the EU's long-term financing institution. The EIB provides long-term finance in support of quality projects to contribute to the achievement of the EU’s key objectives.

Press contacts

European Investment Bank

Marco Santarelli, tel.: +39 0647191;

Website: – Press Office: +352 4379 21000 –

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