EIB launches €300m boost for Irish firms ahead of Brexit
The European Investment Bank (EIB) launched a fresh lending initiative for Irish businesses yesterday as it ramps up its involvement in the economy ahead of Brexit.
The new €300m financing scheme is aimed at medium-sized firms and represents the first time the EIB has extended funds directly to this segment of the market.
At the venture's launch in Dublin with Ibec CEO Danny McCoy, Andrew McDowell, EIB vice president and a former economic adviser to the previous Taoiseach Enda Kenny, said this latest cash injection should be seen in the context "of the expectation on us to step up our level of engagement with Ireland" ahead of Brexit.
Mr McDowell said the UK's decision to exit the EU was "bad for everybody" but stressed there was a view in Brussels and Frankfurt that it would hit Ireland particularly hard. "As an EU institution, we recognise the unique exposure of Ireland to the downside consequences of Brexit," Mr McDowell said.
He claimed there was an "expectation... [the EIB] will step up our activity in Ireland and mitigate the blow".
The EIB is injecting €150m in cash into the fund, in common with its 50-50 investment policy. Mr McDowell said "our €150m is intended to leverage €300m of new investments by mid-size companies". The EIB has also committed €20m to ACT Venture Capital's latest fund in Ireland.
This will see the fund finance around 30 high potential early and expansion stage companies in the information and communication technology sector over the next 10 years.
The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, described the EIB's latest funding round as a "ground-breaking initiative".