The European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to more than double its investments in Bulgaria in 2019 - to 250 million euro ($283 million), keeping its focus on infrastructure and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the bank's vice president Vazil Hudak said on Friday.
In 2018, the EIB provided 103 million euro of financing for Bulgaria, including a 22 million euro loan to the Sofia municipality for expansion of the city's underground railway network and 67 million euro for a new combined heat and power (CHP) plant running on refuse-derived fuel.The EIB will continue to actively support SMEs and midcaps in Bulgaria, working closely with the local units of lenders like Raiffeisenbank and Piraeus Bank, Hudak told a news conference in Sofia.Prior to the news conference, the EIB signed an 18 million euro loan agreement with Software Group, supported by the Juncker Plan – the EIB’s first venture debt operation in Bulgaria. Software Group is a global technology company helping financial service providers digitise their business and successfully go through the process of digital transformation. Earlier on Friday, the bank signed a 20 million euro credit line with Raiffeisen Leasing to back investmements in SMEs, the lender said in a press release. The loan agreement, representing the second tranche of a 50 million euro loan, will finance projects by some 300 SMEs, supporting at least 8,000 jobs, EIB added.