(Photo: HRT/Rimac Automobili) (Photo: HRT/Rimac Automobili)

The Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Dario Scannapieco, signed a contract with Rimac Automobili on Friday for a 30 million euro loan that the company will use for research, development, and the expansion of its factory in Sveta Nedjelja. Scannapieco also signed a 25 million euro loan guarantee agreement with Privredna banka Zagreb (PBZ) for funding innovative small and medium-sized companies. Both deals are part of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan.

Scannapieco said he was pleased to be signing the deal with Rimac. The bank, he said, financed various sectors, from infrastructure to tourism, but he was really impressed with Rimac Automobili, their development and rapid growth in a short period of time. According to Scannapieco, the EIB loan will give Rimac, a company that has demonstrated a lot of talent in its field, the opportunity for development. It will allow its engineers and Mate Rimac, himself, to achieve their dreams, he said. It was also important to fund companies like Rimac Automobili in order to curb the exodus of young, educated professionals from the country, a trend that is also troubling his native Italy, Scannapieco said.

The loan is a huge boost to the company, not only in raw financial terms, but because it sends a signal to lenders and investors, Rimac said.

“To receive a seal of approval from the EIB that says we are investment-gade is significant because the criteria are quite high. Thousands of companies apply and very few receive financing from them,” Rimac said.

Rimac Automobili has undergone a period of rapid growth in recent years. The company has hired more than 200 people this year. It is working on new production lines and new products, with a focus on developing the new C2 model. Part of the money will be used to finish new projects, but most of it will go toward growth and new production facilities. Looking to the future, Rimac said that the company would either become a big, significant player or fail.

“If we become big, if we achieve our goals, then we will grow to a thousand people over the next four or five years, if not then we’ve gone the other way,” he said.

The head of the EIB Office in Zagreb, Anton Kovačev, pointed out that the bank has invested more than 4.7 billion euros in Croatia, and the contracts signed with Rimac Automobili and PBZ will drive the total up to more than five billion euros. "We are trying to support all the good projects in Croatia, in infrastructure and business," Kovačev said.