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EIB Grants EUR 100M Loan to Export and Development Bank

Ljubljana, 05 July (STA) - Slovenia's SID bank, the state-owned export and development bank, and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed on Tuesday a loan deal under which SID will borrow EUR 100m for financing investments in research, development and innovation.

The SID decided to give out direct loans to Slovenian companies following its successful 2009-2010 scheme for investments in the automotive industry, which provided an instant and direct boost to the sector, according to Dominique Courbin of the EIB.

Companies with up to 3,000 employees will be able to take out loans covering complete projects with a EUR 12.5m value cap, while big companies and public institutions will be eligible for receiving loans of up to 50% of a project's value.

While the interest rate for the loans is still being decided on, because the bank is discussing state aid mechanisms with the authorities, it will be one of the lowest currently available, SID chairman Sibil Silvan told the press today.

The primary objective of the long-term financing, with a maturity of up to 12 years, is to boost technological projects.

"We want to create a financial environment giving an opportunity to Slovenian economy and companies to use the funds for innovative products and projects," Silvan explained.

The credit line will be prepared by the end of the summer, when companies will also be able to file their applications for obtaining loans. Its success will also depend on the suitability of companies' projects.

The projects will be evaluated by the SID with help of experts and the EIB, allowing for better and faster oversight over the direction of the Slovenian economy.

The interest rate the SID got from the EIB, which had previously granted loans to the SID totalling EUR 430m, is a secret, but Silvan explained it was one of the best loans the bank currently has on international markets.

Slovenia, which invests 1.86% of its GDP in research and development, is lagging behind top investors such as Sweden and Denmark, which for instance earmark between 3% and 3.5% of their GDP for research and development.

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