Address: European Cooperative House
Avenue Milcamps 105, 1030 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 543 1033
Email: cecop@cecop.coop

CoopEst - Finance for Social Economy Initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe

5 February 2007 [ English ] français ]

News sent by CECOP member SOFICATRA - CoopEst is a new financial initiative for the development of social economy in Central and Eastern Europe. After a founding ceremony in December last year, where DG Regio Commissioner Danuta Hubner was present, this instrument is now operational. The launching, on 29 December 2006, of a bond loan of 15 million euro marks an important step for this new financial instrument.

  • Out of its 7 founding members, 3 are CECOP members: Soficatra, CFI, and, last but not least, ESFIN-IDES (through IDES Investment), whose president, François Soulage, is also the chairman of CoopEst.
  • It is targeted to the countries of central and eastern Europe that have entered the EU or are on the list of existing or potential candidates: Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Out of those 16 countries, CECOP has members in 7 countries, and has stable contacts in other 2 (Hungary and Latvia).
  • Within the scope of the various eligible projects, two areas are of particular interest to the enterprises represented by CECOP:
  • production/commercialisation of handicraft small-scale industries;
  • small business development, especially among unemployed or disadvantaged groups.

CoopEst will provide long term investment (up to 10 years) and will work through local financial intermediaries. The amounts of investment per project is rather small (between 500 000 € and 2 million €), but is meant to generate a lever effect enabling the beneficiary groups to obtain more funds from other financial institutions.

CoopEst - Finance for Social Economy Initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe

A brief presentation


CoopEst was set up in October 2005 in Brussels as a limited liability company governed by Belgian law, by several financial institutions active in the field of the Social Economy sector in Belgium, France, Italy and Poland, having altogether signed the Cracow Declaration on 28 October 2004.


CoopEst is a financial facility aiming at initiating and fostering the development of co-operatives, mutual societies, associations, foundations and social enterprises (which together can be referred to as Social Economy).

The target countries of CoopEst in Central and Eastern Europe are Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The creation of CoopEst is based on the evidence that the access to long-term financing (private and public) in Central and Eastern Europe is still very limited and difficult for Small and Medium enterprises (SME) ? mainly due to the weakness of their financial structure.

Therefore, CoopEst aims to provide long-term financial support both in terms of equity (subordinated loan), long-term loans and guarantees to sustainable and socially responsible projects in the target countries enabling them to leverage further funding for the development of their activities.


Target Group

CoopEst intends to intervene through local financial intermediaries in the respective countries. Therefore, the target groups are established financial institutions in Central and Eastern Europe with a direct link to or an interest in the Social Economy sector and/or socially responsible business (eligible institutions could be cooperative or commercial banks, credit unions, micro finance institutions).

Investment Type

Investment in long-term debt and guarantees:

Global Loans, Subordinated Loans, Subscriptions to Bond Issues; Co-investments (Syndicated Loans); Interventions in providing Guarantees are also possible so as to help final beneficiaries to get better access to local and international (especially European) Loan Bank financing.

Size of investment

Approx. between € 500.000 and € 2M.

Duration of investment

Up to 10 years.

Eligible projects

The main criteria for the involvement of CoopEst is to support socially responsible initiatives in the target countries. Eligible Social Economy projects may include a wide range of economic activities. Some examples could be agricultural co-operatives, social housing or housing co-operatives, energy equipment/renewable alternative energies, organic agriculture, production/commercialisation of handicraft small-scale industries; small business development, especially among unemployed or disadvantaged groups etc.


Crédit Coopératif
Paris-Nanterre, France. Crédit Coopératif is a diversified French banking-group which offers its clients an extensive range of products and services. As a co-operative, its clients hold the capital. They are essentially corporate bodies: businesses and social economy organisations, associations, cooperatives, mutual benefit associations, unions, works councils, housing associations, companies affiliated to organisations, small and medium-sized businesses and industries. It also serves private individuals who are closely associated with these businesses and organisations. While it has remained independent since its creation, it has recently joined the Banque Populaire Group as a parent company. Its mission within this group is to be the centre of excellence with regard to social and solidarity-based economy.

Ms Yaël Zlotowski
33 rue des Trois-Fontanot, 92002 Nanterre, France,
Tel. +33 (1) 47 24 83 39
URL: www.credit-cooperatif.coop

IDES Investissements
Paris-Nanterre, France. IDES, the Institute for the Development of Social Economy, was set-up by actors of the Social Economy in 1983 in order to foster the development of social economy enterprises by providing equity finance support.

Mr Marcel Hipszman
10/12 rue des Trois-Fontanot, 92022 Nanterre, France
Tel. +33 (1) 55 23 07 18
URL: www.esfin-ides.com

Bruxelles, Belgium. With more than 15 years of experience in financing Social Economy enterprises throughout Europe, Soficatra is a key player for equity or quasi-equity investments in small and medium sized enterprises associated with the co-operative, mutual and associative economy as well to participative enterprises (companies with direct participation of the personnel in the management and shareholding or employee-buy out).

Mr Jean-Paul Feldbusch
Av. Jules César 2, bte 7, 1150 Bruxelles, Belgium
Tel. +32 (2) 770 1562
URL: www.soficatra.org

Roma, Italy. The Compagnia Finanziaria Industriale is an institutional investor that has been dedicated to work with social and worker cooperatives for more than 20 years. It participates in company risks, supports investments and provides management with constant support for their strategic decisions ad operational choices.

Mr Felice Scalvini
Via Vicenza, 5A, 00185 Roma, Italy
Tel. +39 (06) 444 02 84
URL: www.cfi.it

MACIF Participations
Paris, France. MACIF is a mutual insurance company, which activities and financing supports are guided by sustainable development and socially responsible approach. In that way MACIF, through a Participatory Governance, places its members in the centre of the enterprise matters and gives an essential role to its delegates.

Mr Jean Philippe Richaud
22-28 rue Joubert, 75009 Paris, France
Tel. +33 (1) 55 31 62 28
URL: www.macif.fr

Warszawa, Poland. The Bank BISE (Bank Inicjatyw Społeczno-Ekonomicznych) is actively supporting the sector of Social Economy in Poland. It is specialised in banking services to small and medium sized enterprises, local and regional authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations and collective houses associations. For those institutions BISE is offering all banking services necessary for the realisation of their programs and statutory objectives.

Ms Anna Krolikowska
ul. Dubois 5a, 00-184 Warszawa, Poland
Tel. +48 (22) 860 1100
URL: www.bise.pl

Trento, Italy. The European Ethical and Alternative Financing Company is the first European alternative financing company to have the know-how and the operational tools, capable of strengthening and multiplying the ethical and solidarity-based financial ventures in all European countries. It was founded in 2002 by the members of the Federation of European Ethical and Alternative Banks and Financiers.

Ms Chiara Meneghetti
Piazza dei Signori 1, 35139 Padova, Italy
Tel. +39 (049) 875 51 16


Washington DC, USA. The IFC (International Finance Corporation) is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. Founded in 1956, IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.

Crédit Mutuel
Paris, France. Crédit Mutuel is a co-operative bank with a strong local and regional focus. It is a large French retail banking group. Its three major services ? banking, insurance and technology ? are offered to all of its clients: individuals, SME, as well as to businesses of all sizes.

APS Bank
Valletta, Malta. APS Bank is an institution wholly owned by the Catholic Church in Malta. Over the years the Bank has sought to identify sectors in which it can contribute to their development. Areas like housing, agriculture, heritage, education, have all been strongly assisted by the Bank. The APS Bank is specialised in retail and community banking.

Cooperazione Trentina
Trento, Italy. The Co-operative Federation from Trentino region in Northern Italy was created in 1881 and counts today more than 200 000 members among the half a million inhabitants of the region. It is a network of co-operatives, which includes credit, agricultural, retail and labour, social services and building co-operatives who employ in total over 13 000 persons.


Legal Name: SA CoopEst
Legal Address : Avenue Jules César 2, bte 7, 1150 Bruxelles, Belgium
Country of Incorporation: Belgium
Legal Status: Joint-Stock Company, with unlimited duration
Date of inscription: 15 Oct 2005
Date of first subscription: 19 Dec 2006
Date of initial operations: early 2007
Total Facility Target Size: The total size of the Facility is aimed at € 30 million, with a first tranche of € 15 million. Subject to the Facility Structure ratios being maintained, subsequent tranches may be issued for € 5 million up to a total of € 30 million.

Facility structure ratios:
Junior A Bonds 20%
Mezzanine B Bonds 30%
Senior C Bonds 50%

A + B Bonds will not be less than 100 % of the C Bonds.

Junior A Bonds are to be not less than 40% of A + B issued bonds.

1st tranche structure: The following table summarizes the targeted size of the 1st tranche:

Junior A Bonds 3 000 000 € 20%
Mezzanine B Bonds 4 500 000 € 30%
Senior C Bonds 7 500 000 € 50%
Total funding 15 000 000 € 100%

Committed subscriptions:

(Principal subscriptions by 19 Dec 2006) EUR %
Crédit Coopératif 3 100 000 €
Ides Investissements 1 000 000 €
Macif Participations 1 000 000 €
Soficatra 1 000 000 €
Bise 200 000 €
Sefea 200 000 €
IFC (World Bank) 3 500 000 €
Federazione Trentina della Cooperazione 1 500 000 €
Crédit Mutuel 500 000 €
APS Bank 300 000 €
Total subscriptions 12 300 000 € 82%

Board of Directors:
- Mr François SOULAGE, Chairman (IDES Investissements)
- Mr Karol SACHS, vice-Chairman (Crédit Coopératif)
- Mr Marcel HIPSZMAN (IDES Investissements)
- Mr Jean Paul FELDBUSCH (Soficatra)
- Mr Jean-Philippe RICHAUD (Macif Participations)
- Mr Felice SCALVINI (CFI)
- Mr Alberto ZEVI (CFI)
- Crédit Coopératif represented by Mr Pierre VALENTIN
- Macif Participations represented by Mr Jacques COLIN

Executive Committee:
- Mr Michal RADZIWILL, Chairman of the Executive Committee (TISE)
- Ms Yaël ZLOTOWSKI, vice-Chairman (Crédit Coopératif)
- Mr Bruno DUNKEL, Corporate Secretary (Soficatra)
- Consultant: Mr Ralph BÖHLKE

Back office Management:
For administrative and legal Back office tasks: Impulse Europe, Avenue Jules César 2, bte 7, B-1150 Brussels

External Auditor: To be appointed by the shareholders’ general meeting.

Accounting standard: IFRS

Legal counsel: CMS DE BACKER, Brussels, Belgium

Governing Law: Belgian Law


Mr Bruno Dunkel
Tel +32 (2) 770 15 62 / Fax +32 (2) 230 75 41
Email: bruno.dunkel@soficatra.org