European Investment Bank to cut red tape to speed up Irish loans
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is launching a "stream-lined" loan facility for Irish businesses to speed up its lending process, the Luxembourg lender said yesterday.
Vice-president Anthony McDowell, Enda Kenny's former economic adviser, said the EIB wants to help plug the funding gap that he says still exists from the crisis years.
Firms here are being encouraged to tap into the €315bn investment plan drawn up by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
"What we want to do is send a signal that the EIB is here to do business directly with mid-size corporates in Ireland and to address that financing gap that still exists," he told the Irish Independent.
"Obviously the Irish commercial banks are healing, but that process isn't complete. There are still significant market gaps that exists for financing innovative growth orientated companies in Ireland and we want to fill that gap."
Mr McDowell later told a gathering of university and business representatives that the EIB would be launching a "stream-lined loan facility" targeting Irish companies in the coming weeks.
He was speaking at an event in Dublin attended by representatives of Irish universities, business associations and life science companies, including Irish med-tech investor Malin Corporation.
It tapped the EIB for a €70m loan earlier this year, as part of a wider €300m fund to invest in research and development (R&D) focused life sciences startups.
According to papers filed as part of the application to the EIB in March, Malin is promoting the project which aims to finance investment into innovative R&D intensive early stage companies.
Mr McDowell said €40m of the €70m has been approved to be drawn down. It is EIB's first private sector loan.
A spokeswoman for Malin said that the €70m EIB facility will be applied "across Malin's European life sciences innovation ranging from early stage drug discovery, medtech and later stage commercial innovation".
The EIB can invest in a variety of projects across the European Union but typically matches funds raised in the private sector.
Over the last five years, the EIB has provided €3.8bn for investment across Ireland, mostly for infrastructure projects in education, transport, energy and water.
The EIB is also opening its first Irish office before the end of the year.
Mr McDowell has said total EIB exposure to Ireland remains below the European average, indicating scope to ramp up investment here by the European Union-owned bank..