The European Investment Bank (EIB) is stepping up its support in Estonia by providing EUR 25 million in support of investment in maritime transport. A finance contract with AS Tallink Grupp has been signed today in Tallinn by Mr Philippe Maystadt, President of the EIB, who declared: “The diversification of our lending in Estonia into new products and new sectors demonstrates EIB’s desire to increase its support for and value-added in key sectors of Estonia’s economy.”

Mr. Andres Hunt, Vice Chairman of the Management Board of AS Tallink Grupp said: “It is highly appreciated that EIB has joined the bank syndicate in financing of our new M/S Baltic Princess which is a great support for the sector. It also shows the trust in our company and helps us to implement our fleet renewal strategy.

The loan will finance the acquisition of a new ferry to be employed on its existing Tallinn-Helsinki route contributing to the development of the European internal market and to the promotion of short sea shipping. This is the first EIB loan granted under its Structured Finance Facility (SFF) in Estonia, and allows for risk-sharing as part of a syndicate of banks arranged by HSH Nordbank. The project will contribute to the Union’s convergence objective and is consistent with the Bank's transport/environmental lending policy, fostering the development of Motorways of the Sea/waterborne transport.

Note for the editor:

The European Investment Bank Group, the banking group promoting European objectives and financing European projects, provides capital investment aimed at modernising the economies of the Member States and of the countries close to the Union.

In 2007, the European Investment Bank lent a total of EUR 47.8 billion for projects promoting the European Union’s policy objectives. Finance for the EU-27 Member States represented 87% of its activities and amounted to EUR 41.4 billion. To fund its activities, the EIB raised an aggregate amount of EUR 55 billion on the international capital markets through 236 bond issues in 23 currencies. Owned by the Member States, the EIB (with its AAA rating) is the largest supranational issuer.

The EIB has established a Structured Finance Facility (SFF) designed to match the types of funding to the requirements of projects with a high-risk profile and to pursue its equity financing and guarantee operations in favour of large-scale infrastructure schemes. In order to support the development of the Bank’s activities under the SFF programme, in 2006 the EIB’s Board of Governors decided to consider a gradual increase of the SFF special reserve to a maximum ceiling of EUR 3.75 billion, funded by appropriations from the Bank’s annual surplus or from the additional reserves, between 2006 and 2013. The aim of the SFF is to furnish value added for priority projects by complementing the commercial banks and capital markets. These operations will be undertaken chiefly in the countries of the European Union, but also in non-member countries.

In 2007, the EIB opened a regional office in Helsinki, located at the headquarters of the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), with the aim of enhancing the Bank’s presence in the Baltic Sea region.

AS Tallink Grupp is one of the leading shipping companies on Baltic Sea, operating seven different shipping routes under the brands of Tallink and Silja Line. The company owns 19 vessels and employs 6500 employees in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Russia and Germany. AS Tallink Grupp carried 6.9 million passengers and 359 thousand cargo units during its last financial year. Company’s revenues reached 760 million euros.