The European Investment Bank (EIB) provides four loans totalling EUR 106 million for R&D and production innovation of voestalpine AG, improvement of the public transport infrastructure in Linz and the development of the region' s health infrastructure:
- EUR 50 million for R&D and product innovation, voestalpine AG The loan supports R&D in the voestalpine group to meet the demand for high quality steel products and components and to further optimise metallurgical, welding and steel-forming processes as well as R&D activities in the areas of the automotive industry. The project also covers capital investments in the Leoben/Donawitz plant concerning a new pre-rolling stand and high-performance rolling mill in voestalpine Schienen GmbH that is the world's only supplier capable of manufacturing rails with lengths of up to 120m in high performance quality steel. The new rolling mill will permit to further minimize the already strict product tolerances, achieving the highest standards in product quality required by major rail infrastructure works in Europe and abroad.
- EUR 24 million for the improvement of the public transport network in the city of Linz The project will contribute to the effort of the city of Linz to increase the quality and attractiveness of the public transport and contain the growth of the individual car transport having so positive impacts on the environment and promote sustainable urban development. It covers a 5.8 km double track extension providing a high-quality connection between a growing district to the south of the city and the city centre to serve the Ebelsberg District. Further the project involves 1.8 km single tube tunnel for a double tramline, 3 tram stations, the acquisition of 11 low-floor tram sets and a new bus terminal with 20 bus spaces next to the central rail station.
- EUR 12 million for the construction of a new 560-bed general hospital in Vöcklabruck The new hospital will replace an existing, outdated hospital in Vöcklabruck town as well as a smaller 80-bed health facility in a neighbouring town, retaining inpatient capacity unchanged and increasing significantly its ambulatory capacity. The project also includes the upgrade of medico-technical equipment for the new premises to bring it up to current standards. The project will be implemented under a public-private partnership financing scheme involving the Federal State Upper Austria and a special purpose company LKV Krankenhaus Errichtungs- und Vermietungs-G.m.b.H. The partnership will build, finance and own the new hospital premises.
- EUR 20 million for LKH Steyr und Mutter-Kind-Zentrum Linz The project concerns the construction of a new Landes Frauen- und Kinderklinik in Linz that will cover also the existing children's hospital, with which it will also be functionally merged. The new clinic will have 90 beds and it will increase capacity of the existing neo-natal unit of the children's hospital. The investment is also focused on the construction of the new surgical and psychiatry/ neurology centres and of a service block of the Landeskrankenhaus Steyr.
EIB Vice-President Wolfgang Roth commented on the loans stating: The EIB supports the investments increasing the competitiveness of the economy of the Federal State of Upper Austria and promoting its regional development. The loans will support research and development and introduction of new technologies in the Austrian major steel producer - voestalpine AG, improve Linz urban transport infrastructure and upgrade health care infrastructure in Upper Austria contributing so to its higher quality of life.
The EIB provided loans to Austria amounting to more than EUR 4.8 billion since 1998. In 2003 loans amounting to EUR 900 million were signed exceeding more than twice the loans signed in 1998. In Upper Austria the EIB financed voestalpine Stahl Linz Plant modernisation (EUR 100 million) and approved a loan of EUR 63 million for the development of the Logistic Centre Linz. The EIB has two Global Loan partner banks in Upper Austria through which smaller projects implemented by the SME sector or by municipalities are financed: Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich and Oberbank. Loans for the Linz Infrastructure project, LKH Vöcklabruck and LKH Steyr and Mutter-Kind-Zentrum were signed with Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich as an intermediary.