European Investment Bank invests $80m in Lithuania’s SME Finance
Lithuanian debt financing firm SME Finance has received €80 million in funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
SME Finance has received the backing to help it service small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
The firm provides finance for the transport, retail, wholesale, production, and services sectors. Clients can apply using its “full automated” self-service factoring platform.
The funding is the largest investment EIB has awarded to a fintech lender.
Mindaugas Mikalajūnas, CEO of SME Finance, calls the investment “timely and much-needed”.
He adds that the partnership combines “next-generation financial technology with public financing” and will enable “SMEs and midcaps across the Baltics to more quickly access financing”.
Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have seen the largest decline in bank loans awarded to SMEs across the EU region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first wave of funding from the EIB will reach businesses by the first half of 2021. The maximum factoring limit granted to individual enterprises will be capped at €5 million.
Approximately 60% goes to Lithuanian businesses, while the rest of the share awarded to Latvian and Estonian enterprises.
The EIB invested €20 million in money transfer service Azimo at the start of year to help the latter expand its services in Eastern Europe.