#investEU: EIB finances Valio’s healthier dairy products
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to lend up to EUR 30m to Valio, the Finnish dairy company, for its research, development and innovation investments related to nutrition, functionality and health impacts of dairy products. Furthermore, these investments aim to ensure better food security through innovative solutions for more efficient food production. This EIB operation is guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a key element of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe.
Valio’s investment programme focuses on research activities in the fields of dairy chemistry and technology, nutritional expertise, product development and consumer preferences. It also includes purchases of piloting equipment for laboratories, systems dedicated to implementing the research and innovation programme as well as technology licensing expenses. The research and development activities will be carried out at Valio’s existing facilities in Helsinki.
EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, whose responsibilities include EFSI and innovation, said: “Supporting research, development and innovation with a substantial health impact is a key priority for the European Investment Bank – also under the Investment Plan for Europe – so we are glad to be supporting Valio’s development of high value-added food products. By enhancing Europe’s position as a major technology supplier and supporting skilled employment opportunities, this project is strengthening Europe’s global competitiveness in an area that makes a real difference in people’s daily lives.”
Tuomas Salusjärvi, Valio’s Executive Vice President in charge of Product Groups and R&D, added: “Valio is researching and developing new ways to produce dairy products that are ever more healthy and delicious. We have developed ValSa® milk salt from the minerals in milk and it can be used to reduce the amount of less healthy normal salt in products. ValSa® has export potential and it can be used also in other than milk products. In our new snack factory that will be completed this year, we will be able to manufacture products with the same good taste and even less sugar than before without the use of sweeteners. Our leading export products are the Valio Gefilus® range, which contains LGG® lactic acid bacteria, the world's most researched probiotic. Valio is a global pioneer in the development of Lactose-free dairy products. The loan granted by the European Investment Bank to Valio for research work is a sign that our product development is valued internationally.”
European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Valio, a food industry giant in Finland, is also a global frontrunner in dairy ingredients due to its investments in research and development. Modernising Europe's food industry and agricultural production technologies, supporting the research programmes underpinning that modernisation, as well as bringing innovative agricultural products to the market, requires sustained investment. That is where the Investment Plan for Europe can play an important role. I am delighted that today's EFSI-backed loan agreement will allow Valio to invest in the equipment and research required for its development and innovation programme. This Finnish success story can continue to innovate, expand and create new jobs."
This is the EIB’s first loan to Valio and this financing will help to diversify the borrower’s funding base and the extension of its maturity profile.