The European Investment Bank (EIB) and BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas have signed an agreement to provide financing of €300m for small and medium-sized enterprises in Italy.

On the basis of this agreement, the EIB will make €300m of its medium to long-term own resources available to BNL. BNL also undertakes to provide own funds to the beneficiary SMEs, thereby increasing the total amount available to support the Italian economy.

Through its network in Italy, BNL will select the investment projects and evaluate and disburse the loans. The funds will be managed by BNL and BNP Paribas Lease Group (BPLG).

EIB said that the projects costing up to €25m promoted by SMEs in the industrial and services sectors throughout Italy are eligible for financing. The EIB funds can cover up to 100% of the project cost, with a maximum of €12.5m per project.

The instruments deployed will include both long-term loans and financial or real estate leasing. Part of the funds is intended to be channelled to southern Italian regions.