Reforesting degraded land in Latin America to combat climate change

Source: European Investment Bank

First investment of the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund
Reforesting 9 000 hectares of degraded land in Peru
1.3 metric tons of CO2 emission reduction expected
The Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, which counts the European Investment Bank as one of its investors, just finalised its first transaction since its take off at the end of 2018. Its initial investment will go to a programme to restore degraded land in Latin America through agroforestry practices and is expected to improve the livelihoods of 2 400 producers.
The programme, named Urapi Sustainable Land Use and developed by ECOTIERRA,
seeks to reverse land degradation and combat climate change by implementing sustainable agricultural practices and strengthening the economic models of cooperatives, while  promoting social inclusion. The first project of the programme involves four coffee cooperatives and the reforestation of degraded land into productive agroforestry systems in Peru.
EIB Vice-President responsible for the Bank’s operations in Latin America, Emma Navarro, said: “The cost and number of climate related disasters are rising and accelerating land degradation, putting pressure on affected communities. With more than 1.3 billion people living on degraded land, the potential for forced mass migration and internal displacement is high and require large amounts of financial resources. That’s why the EIB is supporting the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund to invest in projects that will speed up active involvement and concrete actions to reach land degradation neutrality. I am pleased to see that the first investment of the fund will go to this reforestation project in Peru which will contribute to mitigate the effects of climate change and generate direct positive impacts for the people living there.”
Launched as a transformative contribution to the global fight against climate change, the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund seeks to support the sustainable management of 500 000 hectares of land, to reduce CO² emissions by 35 million tons, and to create jobs or improve livelihoods for over 100,000 people through its investments, with a focus on Africa and Asia. It aims to reach USD 300 million investment in land management and land restoration projects worldwide to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ land degradation neutrality by 2030.
About the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund (LDN Fund)
The LDN Fund benefits from the resources of the Mirova Natural Capital platform and the Althelia Funds range when making investments. The Fund’s investors include public investors such as the EIB, l’Agence Française de Développement, and the Government of Luxembourg, as well as private investors such as Fondaction, the Fund’s first North American investor, Fondation de France, BNP Paribas Cardif, Garance, and Natixis Investment Managers.
The LDN Fund provides long-term financing as well as technical assistance to sustainable land management project developers in the agricultural and forestry sectors. The Dutch entity IDH has been chosen to manage the Fund’s Technical Assistance Facility, which aims to maximize the positive impacts of projects funded by the LDN Fund, to balance the project portfolio, and to implement a framework to measure the project contribution. The Technical Assistance Facility became fully operational on the 15th of January when Agence Française de Développement signed off on a first contribution of €3 million.
As the LDN Fund enters its operational phase, the Fund’s Strategic Board met for the first time on the 15th of January, chaired by Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Members of the committee include Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations on the Fund’s strategic direction and ensure its alignment with policies to fight land degradation and climate change.
Note
The Land Degradation Neutrality Fund SLP 4 is a Luxembourg Special Limited Partnership not subject to the approval of the Luxembourg Commission for the Supervision of the Financial Sector (CSSF) and reserved for institutional clients only in accordance with MIFID. The Fund is currently authorized to be marketed in France, Luxembourg and Canada. The Fund’s investment objective, strategy and main risks are described in its regulatory documents. Its fees, charges and performances are also described in these documents. Investments in the Fund are mainly subject to loss of capital risk. This document is for information purposes only. This document is issued to provide initial, preliminary information about the Fund and is subject to further updating, completion, revision, verification and amendment without notice. This document does not constitute or form part of any offer for sale or solicitation of any offer to buy or subscribe for any securities nor shall it or any part of it form the basis or be relied on in connection with, or act as any inducement to enter into, any contract or commitment whatsoever. Recipients of this document who are considering investing in the Fund following the publication of the documentation of the Fund are reminded that any such purchase of subscription must be made only on the basis of the information contained in the documentation in its final form relating to the Fund, which may be different from the information contained in this document. No reliance may be placed for any purpose whatsoever on the information or opinion contained in this document or on its completeness, accuracy or fairness.

MIL OSI

Portugal: Juncker Plan – SONAE MC’s food retail stores become more environmentally friendly with the support of EIB financing

Source: European Investment Bank

The EIB is providing EUR 55 million to Portuguese company SONAE MC for its food retail stores, which comprise a chain of hypermarkets and supermarkets
EIB financing will make the company’s stores more energy efficient while promoting the use of renewables
The agreement is expected to support the creation of more than 1,200 jobs during the implementation phase
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 55 million loan with SONAE MC to finance the company’s investments aimed at reducing the environmental impact of its food retail business. With the support of this agreement, SONAE MC – market leader in grocery retailing in Portugal (which owns the Continente, Continente Modelo and Continente Bom Dia stores) – will install new technologies that will enhance its environmental sustainability. The EIB loan will contribute to the renovation of the stores’ technical systems through the introduction of more efficient energy equipment, new electricity generation and waste management technologies.
EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro and SONAE MC’s Chief Financial Officer Rui Almeida signed the agreement today in Matosinhos, Oporto. This EIB financing was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). EFSI is the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, known as the “Juncker Plan” and enables the EIB Group to expand its capacity for financing investment projects with high added value that – as is the case in this agreement – promote efficient use of resources, social and territorial cohesion and job creation. In particular, the project will require more than 1,200 people to be hired during the implementation phase[1].
At the signing ceremony in Matosinhos, EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro stressed that “This project is a very good example of our priorities in Portugal: investing in innovation to support climate action and foster cohesion, employment and economic growth. The agreement signed today will have a strong positive environmental impact and make an important contribution to combating climate change by reducing energy consumption and enabling the use of renewables.”
European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: “This new Juncker Plan agreement shows that reaching our ambitious EU-wide energy transition and climate action goals also means creating new jobs for people. This is a project that we can be proud of, and I’m very glad that the EU, via the Juncker Plan, can be part of it.”
Rui Almeida, CFO of Sonae MC, stated: “This financial investment represents an important contribution to the realisation of Sonae MC’s proactive sustainability policy, reflecting our concerns in an area that constitutes a strategic pillar of our business. Strongly innovation-based, this project will consolidate Sonae MC’s leading position on the ecology front, boosting our contribution to a sustainable global environmental footprint, on the road to a decarbonised economy and zero waste.”
The modernisation of SONAE MC’s food retail stores will enable the reduction of electricity consumption by 10% through the installation of more efficient equipment and energy monitoring and management technologies. Refrigeration systems will be renovated, contributing to the efficient use of energy and reducing the environmental impact of greenhouse gases. Water consumption will also decrease thanks to the installation of new water management systems. In addition, stores will meet around 8% of their electricity needs by using renewable energy sources. Waste-related investments will make it possible to recycle and recover up to 24% of total food waste generated. The project will contribute to the development of the electric vehicles (EV) market through the installation of around 680 EV charging points in the parking areas of the stores, improving the customer experience for more environmentally aware clients. The amount of eligible investment in this project is EUR 110 million, to be spread between July 2018 and June 2022.
This financing is also important for Sonae MC because it enables the diversification of its funding sources through the provision of access to loans with longer maturities (maximum 12 years) at competitive costs.

[1]This calculation is based on the EIB methodology.

MIL OSI

EIB’s leadership in the Circular Economy recognized at World Economic Forum meeting in Davos

Source: European Investment Bank

The EIB has been selected as the runner-up in the “Investor” category of The Circulars 2019, the world’s premier circular economy award program organized by the World Economic Forum and the Forum of Young Global Leaders. The award ceremony, which was held on 21 January in Davos, recognized the EIB’s strong contribution to the circular economy which revolves around three mutually reinforcing clusters: finance, advisory support and knowledge sharing.
In the last 5 years, the EIB has provided EUR 2.1 billion to co-finance more than 100 circular projects in a variety of sectors and plans to do more in the future. The Bank also raises awareness about circular solutions among financiers and stakeholders: as such it has recently published a Circular Economy Guide to promote a common understanding of circular economy projects.
Speaking at The Circulars Award ceremony, Vice-President Alex Stubb said: “We thank the organisers for this recognition. The shift to a circular economy is a ‘win-win-win’. A win for the economy because it is expected to stimulate growth and create up to 2 million new jobs by 2030; a win for the environment, because it will reduce our materials and carbon footprints and, finally a win for businesses for which it enables cost savings and new business opportunities.”
Top prize in the investor category went to Impax Asset Management in which the EIB has invested 115 million euro of equity for renewable energy and circular economy projects.
The EIB’s head of innovation finance advisory Shiva Dustar said she was delighted to see ImpaxAM take the prize : “When the EIB invests indirectly we can sometimes have even more of a catalytic impact .At the end of the day we are all winners. And what the circular economy is about.”
More information:
Website:  www.eib.org/circular-economyBrochure: The EIB in the Circular EconomyStudy: Access-to-finance conditions for projects supporting circular economyBlog: Squaring the Circle: What square financiers and circular economy businesses should understand about each other

MIL OSI

Ireland: EUR 155 million EIB support for investment in two new cruise ferries by Irish Continental Group

Source: European Investment Bank

Announcement made as the W.B. Yeats cruise ferry made its maiden commercial voyage from Dublin to Holyhead this morning
New ICG cruise ferries, W.B. Yeats and a second new cruise ferry currently under construction will significantly increase capacity and support Ireland’s tourism and trading ambitions
Two new ICG cruise ferries part funded by EIB
First ever support for ICG and first financing under EIB Green Shipping initiative
Upgrading ferry fleet key to reducing emissions and comply with future regulation
The loan to Irish Continental Group represents the first support approved by the EIB under a new Green Shipping financing initiative that supports investment in new and existing ships to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
The W.B.Yeats ship incorporates emissions scrubber technology to reduce sulphur oxide pollution and ballast water systems which meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption and efficiencies.
The European Investment Bank is providing EUR 155 million to finance two new passenger and vehicle ships for the ICG subsidiary Irish Ferries. The two ferries will increase passenger and cargo capacity on routes to Ireland, replace older and smaller vessels and significantly reduce emissions from the Irish Ferries fleet. The new ferries are expected to be used on both the Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg routes to reflect demand for a greater choice of services from Ireland to Britain and direct to continental Europe.
The announcement was made as the W.B. Yeats cruise ferry made its maiden commercial voyage from Dublin to Holyhead this morning.
The largest ever EIB support for Irish shipping was announced during a visit this morning by Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President and Eamonn Rothwell, CEO of Irish Continental Group. The latest addition to the Irish Ferries fleet, the new W.B.Yeats, was partly financed using EUR 75 million from the EIB. The W.B. Yeats can transport 1,800 passengers, 300 cars and 165 trucks and following delivery in December, commenced sailings today on the Dublin-Holyhead Route.  The second ship, expected to be completed in 2020 and unnamed as yet, will likely transport 1,800 passengers and crew and 1,526 cars or 300 trucks. 
Eamonn Rothwell, CEO, ICG, said “Significant new investment is essential to expand the Irish Ferries fleet and better serve our customers increased demand for passenger and freight transport. The EUR 155 million financing facilities agreed with the EIB, alongside financing from leading Irish and international banks, for the two new cruise ferry ships demonstrates the EIB’s commitment to support transformational corporate investment such as this in Ireland, enabling ICG to deliver on its growth strategy and strengthening the tourism and cargo trading links in and out of the country. We were delighted to take delivery of the superb W.B Yeats in December.  The ship is the next level in terms of the experience it offers our customers.  After operating on the Irish Sea, the W.B. Yeats will move to service the busy Dublin Cherbourg route in the coming months.”
Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President, said “Shipping connections are crucial for Ireland and the European Investment Bank is pleased together with ICG to support two new ships that will both transform maritime transport to and from this country and cut harmful emissions. The EUR 155 million long-term EIB loans will support EUR 309 million of new investment in best in class vessels that will serve Irish routes for years to come. The new W.B. Yeats, on its maiden voyage from Dublin today, together with the second vessel will transform freight capacity and passenger travel from Ireland to the UK and continental Europe. The first approval of financing under the EIB’s Green Shipping initiative reflects firm commitment of ICG to cut emissions and improve fuel efficiency. Increasing maritime transport capacity reflects increased demand arising from Ireland’s export driven recovery and the potential need for flexibility in the event of disruption on UK routes.  In the context of EIB’s ever-increasing support for Irish private businesses, these two loans also demonstrate the value that EIB loans can provide to Irish corporates through beneficial pricing, long tenors and flexible loan structures.”
Ireland leading the way with Green Shipping
The long-term loan to Irish Continental Group represents the first support approved by the EIB under a new Green Shipping financing initiative that supports investment in new and existing ships to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
The W.B.Yeats ship incorporates emissions scrubber technology to reduce sulphur oxide pollution and ballast water systems which meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption and efficiencies.
EIB support for second new Irish Ferries ship
The EIB is providing EUR 80 million to finance construction of a second new vessel for Irish Continental Group’s Irish Ferries operations. Due for delivery during 2020, once operational this vessel will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity and provide Irish Ferries with an effective 50% increase in peak freight capacity.
New ships to ensure flexible service between Ireland, Britain and France
The new ships have been designed to enable flexible use on all existing Irish Ferries routes between Irish, British and French Ports and the vessels will be used to reflect the increased tourism and freight demand.

MIL OSI

The EIB signs the Berlin Call to action for cultural heritage

Source: European Investment Bank

The EIB signs the Berlin Call to action for cultural heritage

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Mr. Jack Nkusi KAYONGA, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Bank

from left to right:Mrs Flavia Palanza, Associate Director for Central and Eastern Africa, EIB, Mr. Jack Nkusi Kayonga, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Bank and Mr Patrick Walsh, Director responsible for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific operations.

from left to right:Mrs Flavia Palanza, Associate Director for Central and Eastern Africa, EIB, Mr. Jack Nkusi Kayonga, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Bank and Mr Patrick Walsh, Director responsible for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific operations.

J.A.Mannai, Président du Fonds Monétaire Arabe; P.Maystadt, Président de la BEI; A.M.Ali Al-Madani, Président de la Banque Islamique de Développement; F.Baroin, Ministre de l’Economie, des Finances et de l’Industrie; D.Kaberuka, Président de la Banque Africaine de Développement; C.Lagarde, directrice générale du FMI

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Mr P.Sakellaris, Vice President of the EIB and Mr D. Kyriakopoulos, Executive Vice President of Elval

Mr P. Sakellaris, Vice President of the EIB and Mr D.Kyriakopoulos, Executive Vice President of Elval

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Press conference in Athens today, Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, Vice President of the EIB

Press conference in Athens today, Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, Vice President of the EIB

Press conference in Athens today, Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, Vice President of the EIB

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EIB signs the Berlin Call to Action “Cultural Heritage for the Future of Europe”

Source: European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s bank and the world’s largest multilateral borrower and lender, signed the Berlin Call to Action “Cultural Heritage for the Future of Europe” at a special ceremony held at the Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain in Brussels, Belgium.
Emma Navarro, Vice-President of the EIB, signed the document and handed it to Europa Nostra’s Executive President Hermann Parzinger in the presence of high-level representatives from the European Investment Bank, the EIB Institute and Europa Nostra as well as the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee and members of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3.
The Berlin Call to Action was opened to signatures from citizens and organisations committed to the cause of cultural heritage on the occasion of the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin on 22 June 2018. Presented by three European organisations active in the field of cultural heritage, namely Europa Nostra, the German Cultural Heritage Committee (DNK) and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK), it seeks to engage the largest possible range of organisations, institutions, governments, civil society actors and individuals in recognising and tapping into the positive and cohesive power of our shared cultural heritage for the Future of Europe.
Since its launch in Berlin, this campaigning document has been signed by almost 2,200 people and organisations from all over Europe. At the closing conference of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in Vienna on 7 December 2018, Europa Nostra and the German Cultural Heritage Committee presented the symbolic number of 2,018 signatures to the European Commission. On the same day, the European Commission published a European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage which prominently refers to the Berlin Call to Action.
Emma Navarro, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, stated: “The signing of the Berlin Call to Action reflects EIB’s fundamental strategic priority – promoting economic and social cohesion in the EU. As the EU Bank, the EIB has invested in cultural heritage over many years through the refurbishment or development of cultural heritage buildings and cities, most recently in Warsaw or Nancy. Adding the Bank’s name to the long list of influential signatories is yet another evidence of our commitment to safeguarding Europe’s cultural heritage.”
Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra, stated: “The European Investment Bank’s backing of our Berlin Call to Action gives a most welcome boost to the on-going mobilisation of public and private stakeholders to ensure a lasting legacy of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. It re-affirms the existing commitment of the European Investment Bank in favour of the safeguard and enhancement of cultural heritage and gives a good example to follow for other financial organisations operating at various levels – national, European and international. This is yet another confirmation of the fruitful cooperation between the EIB Institute and Europa Nostra, which started 7 years ago and led to the launch of the 7 Most Endangered Programme in 2013 and which we are keen to further strengthen in the years of come.”
Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute, said: “Europeans take pride in their cultural heritage. Since 2013, the Institute has been cooperating with Europa Nostra under the 7 Most Endangered Programme to identify monuments and sites under acute danger of neglect or destruction. The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 provided an ideal launch pad for taking our investment in cultural heritage to the next level.”
High resolution photos of the signing ceremony can be downloaded here.
Background information
About the Berlin Call to Action “Cultural Heritage for the Future of Europe”
The Berlin Call to Action “Cultural Heritage for the Future of Europe” was first presented in June 2018 at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin. The first copy was signed by the Presidents of the three co-hosting institutions: Maestro Plácido Domingo for Europa Nostra, Martina Münch for the German Cultural Heritage Committee (DNK) and Hermann Parzinger for the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK). Open to signatures from the public and institutions alike, the Berlin Call to Action can be signed online or on paper. It is available in 22 languages, with more translations currently under preparation. More information on http://www.europanostra.org/our-work/campaigns/berlin-call-action
About Europa Nostra
Europa Nostra is the pan-European federation of heritage NGO’s which is supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals. Covering more than 40 countries in Europe, the organisation is the voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting Europe’s cultural and natural heritage. Founded in 1963, it is today recognised as the most representative heritage network in Europe. Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned opera singer, is the President of the organisation. Europa Nostra campaigns to save Europe’s endangered monuments, sites and landscapes, in particular through the 7 Most Endangered programme run in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute. It celebrates excellence through the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. It also contributes to the formulation and implementation of European strategies and policies related to heritage, through a structured dialogue with European Institutions and the coordination of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3. Europa Nostra has strongly promoted and actively contributed to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and is dedicated to working to ensure a lasting legacy of this Year.

MIL OSI

Finland: Nightingale Health to receive EUR 20 million EU-financing to herald a new era of chronic disease prevention

Source: European Investment Bank

EUR 20 million EIB loan will be used to accelerate research and development of Nightingale’s blood analysis technology.
Loan backed by European Fund for Strategic Investments, part of the Juncker Plan.
Nightingale Health, the Finnish innovator of an internationally recognized blood analysis technology for chronic disease prevention, today signed a EUR 20 million loan transaction with the European Investment Bank (EIB), guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a key element of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan. The loan will be used to further accelerate the research and development of Nightingale’s blood analysis technology, facilitating better prediction and prevention for chronic diseases.
EIB Vice-President Alexander Stubb, responsible for innovation, said: “Chronic diseases are a nightmare, not only for those who suffer from them, but also for those trying to cure them. The EIB is committed to supporting companies like Nightingale that can realistically make a big impact and improve the health of EU citizens. The support of the Investment Plan for Europe is particularly valuable here, and the operation is fully aligned with the objective of supporting high-skilled employment opportunities. This will also enhance Europe’s position as a major leader in medical innovation.”
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: “Europe invests heavily in education and science as we believe that putting a strategic effort into these areas can reap huge benefits. This commitment has resulted in Europe’s position today as a world leader in cutting edge medical research. We are delighted that the Investment Plan for Europe is fostering the development of Nightingale’s technology which has the potential to add significant value to European healthcare. 
Nightingale CEO and Founder Teemu Suna said: “Nightingale wants to create a world where healthcare keeps people healthy throughout their lifetimes, not just whenever they get sick. When we founded Nightingale in 2013, we wanted to bring together innovations from biotechnology, medicine and computer sciences to build a different type of healthcare – one where everyone is given a chance to live a healthier life. Today’s announcement provides Nightingale with the funding needed to take our vision for personalized medicine into European healthcare. By supplying physicians with accurate chronic disease risk prediction for their patients, we will empower people to better understand their own health status and take actions to reduce their risk. Not only will this transform how we treat common diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, but it will also significantly reduce the current economic burden on healthcare systems and workforces.”
The growing burden of chronic disease poses a significant threat to citizens’ wellbeing. It is also estimated that 70-80% of all healthcare costs in the EU are chronic disease-related, accounting to approximately EUR 700 billion(1). Nightingale’s innovative blood analysis technology can detect early signs of a large number of these diseases, improving the assessment of a person’s future risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. By helping physicians and patients to better understand an individual’s chronic disease risk, effective interventions such as medications and lifestyle changes can be taken to slow and prevent disease progression.
The EUR 20 million loan from the EIB represents another major step forward towards integrating Nightingale’s technology in European healthcare. Already used widely in public health research, the company’s goal is to achieve full clinical integration for its technology by replacing conventional biomarker tests for chronic diseases (e.g. cholesterol tests). By further accelerating the regulatory approval process through rigorous scientific evidence generation, the company aims to realise the promise of precision medicine. Nightingale has already received CE marking for its blood analysis technology in 2017, enabling clinical use of its technology in Europe, and its Quality Management System is certified to EN ISO 13485:2012. Nightingale will match the EIB’s loan, altogether resulting in EUR 40 million in total investment that will be used within the next 3-5 years to further advance Nightingale’s R&D and scientific evidence generation.
Background information:
Nightingale Health is the Finnish innovator of an award winning blood analysis technology. By measuring the comprehensive health state from a person using a single blood sample, Nightingale equips biomedical researchers with insights into the effects of lifestyle factors and future disease risk, accelerating breakthroughs in chronic disease prevention. The company is investing and working towards integrating its technology into clinical practice to bring about precision medicine – empowering  patients to follow up on their own well-being and take proactive steps to stay healthy. 

MIL OSI

Greece: EUR 255m EIB support to the upgrade of Greek national electricity network

Source: European Investment Bank

One of the largest EIB energy investments in Greece  
More than 7,000km of new electricity distribution infrastructure to be installed
Electricity network investment to strengthen connections to renewable energy, improve reliable  electricity supply and cater for increased demand
One of the largest financiers of global energy infrastructure, the European Investment Bank, today agreed a new EUR 255 million long-term loan with the Greek Public Power Corporation (PPC), the largest power producer and electricity supplier in Greece, to upgrade electricity distribution across the country. The new 20 year loan, guaranteed by the Hellenic Republic, represents one of the largest ever EIB loans for electricity investment in Greece.
“The reliable supply of electricity and addressing increased energy needs require significant long term investments for the modernization and the reinforcement of electricity infrastructure of the country. Within this context, I welcome the new initiative of the European Investment Bank, which will materially contribute in the improvement of electricity distribution. Besides, EIB has been a long term partner of the Greek energy sector, providing financial support and valuable knowhow”, said in its statement for the signing of the loan agreement  Mr. Giorgos Stathakis, Minister of Energy & Environment.
PPC’s Chairman and CEO Mr. Manolis Panagiotakis stated that “the Greek Distribution Network is a very valuable asset that PPC Group possesses. Within this framework shaped by technological developments and the European policy for the climate, Distribution Networks become the most significant factor in electricity. Thus, Distribution assets will continue to provide us with steady, attractive returns, also with a higher regulated asset base through focused investments. Within this context, the signing of the first loan agreement amounting to EUR 155 million out of a total approved facility of EUR 255 million, is of exceptional importance and we would like to thank EIB one more time for being here today, facilitating our strategic plans to further reinforce and modernize the Distribution Network across Greek mainland and islands. EIB is a strategic financing partner of the Company that supports its investment program in accordance with its business plan, for projects of major importance on the economy, the Greek consumers, the security of supply of the country and the environment.”
Mr. Stefanos Oktapodas, CEO of HEDNO, welcomed the agreement and pointed out that “we are very pleased with this significant investment that will upgrade the critical infrastructure of the distribution network, maximizing the benefits for the energy users, the economy and the environment”.
“Across Europe and here in Greece significant new investment in electricity network infrastructure is essential to cater for future demand reflecting economic growth, ensure reliable electricity supply and reflect changing sources of power generation. The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide EUR 255 million to new investment in the Greek national electricity distribution system that will benefit millions of customers across the country. This builds on the EIB’s strong firm partnership with PPC and track record of financing energy projects across Greece, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, interconnectors to islands and electricity distribution.” said Peter Jacobs, Head of the European Investment Bank’s Investment Team for Greece.
The first European Investment Bank financing for investment in Greece in 2019 will support a EUR 510 million national investment programme implemented by the Hellenic Electricity Network Operator (HEDNO), a wholly owned subsidiary of PPC, within the period July 2017-2020.
The first part of the new European Investment Bank loan, to PPC, parent company of the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, totalling EUR 155 million, was signed at the PPC headquarters in Athens by Mr. Manolis Panagiotakis, Chairman and CEO of PPC S.A. and, Mr. Ioannis Kaltsas, responsible for public sector lending by the European Investment Bank in Greece and Cyprus.  
The remaining EUR 100 million is expected to be signed as the project progresses.
Energy users across Greece to benefit
Expansion of the national electricity distribution network will cater for expected increased future demand and enable energy consumers across Greece to benefit from more reliable electricity supply. A total of 7,327 km of new medium and low voltage electricity distribution lines will be installed that will improve distribution efficiency and increase network resilience and stability.
Improving connections to renewable energy
Upgrading the national electricity network is crucial to better connect existing and planned wind farms and solar power plants to towns and cities.
Builds on EIB’s strong energy track engagement in Greece
Last year the EIB agreed to support construction of two new windfarms in northern Greece, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and investments for smart metering and improve high-voltage electricity infrastructure.
Over the last 55 years the European Investment Bank provided EUR 6.4 billion for energy investment across Greece, including more than EUR 2 billion for new power generation and electricity distribution investment by PPC.
This has included backing new investment in wind energy, power distribution and transmission, energy efficiency and security of energy supply projects and technical assistance to share experience from similar schemes elsewhere in Europe.

MIL OSI

Czech Republic: Investment Plan for Europe – EU bank and CMZRB join forces to support the energy efficiency of buildings in the Czech Republic

Source: European Investment Bank

The European Investment Advisory Hub will support CMZRB in designing a dedicated investment platform aiming at overcoming market barriers and stimulating more energy efficiency projects
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Česká záruční a rozvojová banka (Czech Guarantee and Development Bank – CMZRB) have agreed that the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) will support CMZRB in developing an investment platform for energy efficiency measures in the building sector in the Czech Republic.
EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák commented: “Through the establishment of an investment platform dedicated to energy efficiency building refurbishment managed by CMZRB, we expect to strengthen support for local project promoters and energy service companies”.
Despite the huge potential for energy savings and job creation, energy efficiency investments into buildings can still be hindered by a number of technical, financial, budgetary or behavioural barriers. The EIAH support announced today will help design and develop an innovative investment platform that will aim to stimulate the potential for financing energy saving measures in the form of Energy Performance (EPC) and Performance Based (PBC) contracts.
The platform will attempt to address the main market barriers by providing long-term sustainable financing to energy service companies, covering the default and performance risks related to EPC and PBC as well as supporting the best practices and contract standardisation to facilitate promoters.
This innovative approach, led by CMZRB, involves key stakeholders in the energy efficiency market in the Czech Republic and will be supported by key EIB Advisory experts. “The key aspect is that such cooperation will result in the support of economically viable and sustainable measures, where energy savings are specifically guaranteed,” stated Jiří Jirásek, Chairman of CMZRB’s Board of Directors. “The role of our Bank will be to interconnect the financial resources of EIB, commercial banks and European structural funds allocated to the Czech Republic (within the framework of OP EIC), and thus to ensure the long-term financing of energy efficient projects with public and private investors on preferential terms.”
Support for increasing energy efficiency (EE) investments is a priority for the EIB and is in line with EU policies. Energy efficiency contributes to climate action, lower costs and strengthened competitiveness. Investments in energy efficiency also have the potential to create a significant number of employment opportunities. The EIB supports projects that contribute to reaching the EU’s goal of increasing energy efficiency in the Union by 32% by the year 2020.
The support is made available by EIB experts through the European Investment Advisory Hub, a key component of the Investment Plan for Europe (or “Juncker Plan”), which aims to stimulate much needed investments in European countries.

MIL OSI

EIB conference in Lisbon: Investment, Innovation and Digitalisation – the Portuguese case

Source: European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Banco de Portugal today hosted a conference entitled “Investment, Innovation and Digitalisation: the Portuguese case”.
At the event, the EIB presented the results of its latest annual EIB Investment Report and Survey (EIBIS) for Europe and Portugal, which provide a better understanding of investment dynamics and investment needs in Portugal.
The EIBIS survey for Portugal confirms the ongoing pick-up in investment in the country while pointing out the need to continue fostering it.
As part of a series of events organised to debate current trends in investment in different EU Member States, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Banco de Portugal hosted a conference entitled “Investment, Innovation and Digitalisation: the Portuguese case” in Lisbon today. The Governor of Banco de Portugal, Carlos Costa, and EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro opened the conference, which involved the participation of Pedro Siza Vieira, Deputy Minister and Minister of Economy. Policymakers and representatives from financial institutions and the business community also attended the event.
During her opening remarks, EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro said: “The EIB is a long–standing partner of Portugal, having supported the country’s economy for more than 40 years. The EU bank has provided around EUR 50 billion to finance close to 500 operations that have contributed to boost the competitiveness of Portuguese SMEs and to support projects mainly in the transport, energy and industry sectors, facilitating the modernization and transformation of the country. The EIB reiterates its commitment to continue playing a critical role in the financing of the structural investments needed to overcome the challenges we are facing and to support Portugal in this endeavor”
At the event, the EIB also presented the results of its latest annual EIB Investment Report and Survey (EIBIS) for Europe and Portugal, which provide a better understanding of investment dynamics and investment needs in Portugal.
The report, based on a survey of 12,500 European firms, finds that a backlog of investment continues to weigh on Europe’s economic recovery: climate change mitigation investments remain depressed, while EU firms are still not putting enough resources into research and development, other intangibles, and even machinery and equipment, to stay globally competitive. The share of investment and other growth-enhancing expenditure in total government expenditures remains low, in particular in the periphery countries. However, overall investment, especially in the corporate sector and in buildings, is picking up and reaching historical averages in most EU countries.
Investment situation in Portugal
With regard to Portugal, the survey, based on 535 non-financial corporations, broadly confirms the ongoing pick-up in investment in Portugal. Access to finance has improved compared to other perceived investment bottlenecks, and is no longer the largest perceived impediment to investment: 5% of firms are finance-constrained, down from 12% in the previous survey, and now in line with the EU average.
Moreover, the survey finds that investment continued to recover, going up by 10% compared to the previous year, but remains around 20% below its 2008 level. Despite the growth in corporate investment, the gap vis-à-vis pre-crisis levels is primarily driven by the government and household sectors. Investments in dwellings and infrastructure continue to be a drag on aggregate investment activities, whereas investment in machinery and equipment nearly reached the pre-crisis level.
Around eight out of ten Portuguese firms consider uncertainty about the future to be the main obstacle to their investment activities, followed by energy costs and business and labour market regulations (84%, 81%, 79% and 77% respectively). All are more likely to be seen as barriers in Portugal than EU-wide, where the equivalent figures are 69%, 58%, 64% and 62%. Lack of availability of skilled staff is a barrier for 77% of firms in both Portugal and the EU. Limited availability of finance is also more likely to be regarded as a barrier in Portugal than in the EU as a whole.
Looking forward, there is still a need to foster investment, especially intangible, as Portugal stands at the lower end of the EU distribution in terms of intangible investment. More intangible investment is required at a time when the economy is becoming increasingly knowledge-based. Some changes in the nature of the Portuguese financial system may be helpful in this regard.

MIL OSI