EIB Head Happy with Slovenia

The president of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Philippe Maystadt told during his visit to Slovenia that cooperation with Slovenia was excellent. With more than EUR 3bn in loans, Slovenia is the biggest recipient per capita among new EU members. Maystadt is to sign three loan contracts, worth a total of EUR 58m, during the visit.

The EIB, which will probably expand its loan activity by 30% to more than EUR 60bn this year, is striving during the economic crisis for an approach tailored to the needs of individual countries, Maystadt explained. Slovenia is a small, open economy, and its banking sector is in a better shape than is the case in some other EU member, Maystadt said.

Maystadt, who met today Prime Minister Borut Pahor, Development Minister Mitja Gaspari and Finance Minister Franc Krizanic, stressed that Slovenia was very much dependent on the economic situation in the neighbourhood. He explained that talks were being conducted on a EUR 300m loan to the state-owned SID development and export bank, which could be used for favourable loans to SMEs, municipalities and energy efficient projects.

The possibility of aid to the car industry was also touched on during talks with Slovenian officials, he added, explaining the SID could serve as a local mediator because it knows the companies here. Maystadt said in a press release earlier in the day that he was to sign three loan contracts as part of his two-day visit, worth a total of EUR 58m.

He said an EUR 8m loan was granted to biotech company BIA Separations on Sunday. While Maystadt labelled the BIA Separations loan as “a risky project”, minister Krizanic said it was a quality investment into high added value technologies.

A EUR 30m loan to the Slovenian Regional Development Fund from Ribnica, to be signed today, will be intended for the funding of SMEs and local communities. The third loan, EUR 20m to NLB Leasing, part of the group around Slovenia largest bank NLB, is meant for the backing of smaller projects.

“It is about encouraging the development of SMEs through the NLB as a mediator that can examine which companies deserve to receive loans with a relatively favourable interest rate,” Krizanic explained.

This is the first meeting of the head of the EIB with representatives of the new Slovenian government. He is accompanied by a group of EIB representatives, including the bank’s vice-president Marta Gajecka.

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