EIB invests a further 100 million euros in water purification in Flanders
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Flemish wastewater purification company Aquafin have signed the uptake of a first tranche of 100 million euros as part of a new 200 million euro loan agreement. This is the first part of the tenth financing agreement since the formation of Aquafin in 1990, and it confirms the trust that exists between the two parties. The loan will be used for further build-out and optimisation of the water purification infrastructure in Flanders.
Aquafin has to finance the projects that it carries out. Aquafin therefore needs to be constantly seeking out financing, and as a result this is actually one of the company’s core activities. "The EIB has always been our most important investor and provides approximately half of our total funding needs in the long-term, from the time when a project is delivered," says Jan Goossens, General Manager of Aquafin. "We are able to make up the other half through financing from institutional investors and other financial institutions. We bridge the period when the projects are being implemented using short-term financing."
Pim van Ballekom, Vice-President of the EIB who is responsible for Belgium, comments on the operation: "Our collaboration with Aquafin goes back a very long way and represents a clear example of a situation where European loans can have a big impact at the local level, often without many people being aware of it". The EIB has set itself the goal of awarding at least 25% of its loans to climate-related projects, so we are pleased with the high standards that Aquafin is maintaining in that area too."
Since investments by companies have an impact on people, the environment and society, the EIB like many other investors is paying more and more attention to the sustainability of the projects it supports. This was emphasised more than ever during preparations for the tenth financing agreement between Aquafin and the EIB.
Jan Goossens: "We had to demonstrate that at least a quarter of the investment value of the projects for which we are requesting financing will have a clear positive impact on climate change. This condition is fully met by projects for separating rainwater from the waste water infrastructure and by optimisation projects that allow us to arm ourselves to deal with climate change. Projects that only involve linking pollutant loads to water purification do not meet the requirement, even though they do contribute towards a better living environment. The analysis carried out in the context of this tenth loan was an informative exercise for us. It has encouraged us to look at our projects from a different perspective."