ECONOMY

European Investment Bank signs two key loan deals with DEPA

The Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) yesterday signed two contracts for loans worth a total of 45 million euros. They concern the funding of the High-Pressure Transmission System between Greece and Turkey and the upgrade of the Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal at Revythousa. EIB Vice President Gerlando Genuardi also announced yesterday a 50-million-euro loan to Emporiki Bank to fund small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the sectors of industry, tourism and services. It follows similar loans to Alpha Bank and Eurobank, with more loans under negotiation. Genuardi said that EIB places great emphasis on supporting SMEs, so it wishes to cooperate with Greek banks, which have developed considerable activity in Southeastern Europe and can fund SMEs in the broader region. EIB officials estimate that total loans approved for Greece this year will rise to 2 billion euros. Last year funding contracts to Greece by EIB totaled 895 million euros. The bank focuses mainly on energy, and then on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and the SMEs funding local authorities. Its leaders say it wants to broaden its relations with the private sector. The deal between DEPA and EIB is the first in 10 years. Genuardi underlined its importance and said relations with DEPA will continue.