With its 2001 group balance-sheet figures up to EURO246 billion ($192.5 billion) from the previous year's EURO224 billion ($211.4 billion), Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) plans to continue with its initiative of securing long-term funding for small and medium-sized (SME) companies throughout Germany.

As part of its 2002 strategy, the German promotional bank along with IKB Deutsche Industriebank have built a strategic alliance for small and medium-sized enterprises which will explore alternative means for long-term SME financings. On the structured finance front the alliance plans to focus on developing direct investments by German SMEs and European acquisition finance on a syndicated basis. To date, direct financing through the capital market has been an alternative that only few SME enterprises have explored; most have opted for classic, long-term bank loans.

The bank expects its volume in loans securitizations to rise somewhere between EURO10 billion ($8.6 billion) to EURO12 billion ($10.3 billion) this year from the EURO5.2 billion ($4.5 billion) recorded last year that included EURO2.7 billion ($2.3 billion) in SME loans and EURO2.5 billion in housing and construction loans.

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