EIB opens office in Bulgaria and signs first corporate loan

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Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer formally inaugurated the new EIB Group Office for Bulgaria in Sofia today. The EIB Group’s new representation will strengthen and increase EIB Group activities in Bulgaria. It is headed by Andreas Beikos.

On this occasion EIB signed a loan with Oliva AD – the leading sunflower oil producer and grain trader in the country. This is the first EIB transaction in Bulgaria in which a private company benefits from the support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financing component of the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE).

European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, said: “I welcome the EIB’s commitment to targeting EU investment to the agri-food sector. This is a growth sector with massive potential to contribute more to job creation and growth with smart, tailored investment. I encourage any and all agri-food operators with a suitable investment plan to make contact with the EIB to investigate what options may be open to them.”

EIB President Werner Hoyer commented: “The EIB Group cooperates very well with the public authorities and private sector counterparts across Bulgaria. Since we started operations in Bulgaria in 1992, we have built a well-balanced lending portfolio with commitments reaching almost EUR 5 billion”. Mr Hoyer went on to say that “our increased local presence will allow us to intensify the blending of EIB lending with EU grants, including Structural Funds and financing backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The project we have signed today demonstrates that clearly. It will enhance sunflower oil production and create new employment in rural areas. The EIB Group Office will offer expanded technical and financial advisory services and help us to find new projects.”

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stated: “We welcome the opening of the European Investment Bank’s Group office in Sofia which is a clear message for further deepening of our cooperation and a strong signal of the Bank’s confidence and commitment to our country.  The local presence of the EU Bank will give valuable support to the Bulgarian economy, including private companies, by providing a direct contact point for EU-supported financing solutions as well as advisory expertise. Furthermore, we believe that this newly opened office would intensify the implementation of the Investment plan for Europe in Bulgaria”.

The opening of an EIB Group Office in Sofia is in line with the EIB’s policy of establishing a presence in all EU Member State capitals. This effort will help the EU bank to better understand the regional financing needs, to identify more new projects and to establish closer ties with national authorities and other stakeholders. The EIB has so far established offices in 21 EU Member States and 22 countries outside the EU, promoting business and policy dialogue.

The new Head of the EIB Group Office in Sofia, Andreas Beikos, has had an 18-year professional career in the EIB focusing on lending operations within and outside the EU. Most recently Andreas managed public sector lending in Greece and was Head of the EIB Office for the Western Balkans in Belgrade from 2010 to 2016.

Oliva AD is a successful local operator in the sunflower market that has continuously modernised its assets and improved competitiveness. The company will use the EIB loan to finance the construction of a new sunflower oilseed production plant and storage and logistics facilities in the Beloslav municipality near Varna.