The European Investment Bank is making a GBP 65mln loan to NSG UK Enterprise Limited, which trades under the Pilkington brand, to help modernise its production facilities in St Helens, Merseyside, and fund research and development into new processes and products. NSG UK will be the first British company to benefit from the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) set up by the EIB jointly with the European Commission in June 2007 to make finance for research, development and innovation available to a wider spectrum of companies.

NSG UK is investing a total of GBP 130 mln (approximately EUR 163 mln) in the project to modernise its Greengate float glass factory and fund R&D at its research centres in Ormskirk, Lancashire, and Gelsenkirchen and Witten in Germany. Approximately 65 percent of the project’s total costs are related to research and development. The project will improve energy efficiency at the Greengate plant, thereby reducing CO2 emissions, and safeguard jobs in the area, which qualifies for assistance under the current EU structural funds programme (2007-13).

“This project shows that UK companies can also make use of the EIB to help fund their research and development,” said Simon Brooks, EIB vice president responsible for lending operations in the United Kingdom. “We look forward to undertaking future projects of this sort with other companies."

The RSFF was set up by the European Commission and EIB in June 2007 to extend finance for research, development and innovation to low- and sub-investment grade companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, research institutes and universities. The facility with a target volume of EUR 10 bln can be used to finance intangibles such as R&D operating costs, salaries, and the acquisition of intellectual property rights as well as traditional investment in plant and machinery. Using resources from the EU’s seventh framework programme for research and development, RSFF aims to help further development of a knowledge-based economy in the 27 member states.


The European Investment Bank, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the long-term lending arm of the European Union. Its role is to further the objectives of the EU by making long-term finance available for sound investments. In 2007 it lent nearly EUR 48 bln for projects within the 27 EU member states and in partner countries. In the United Kingdom, loans totalling EUR 4.2 bln were signed in 2007, bringing total lending in the period 2003-07 to EUR 18.3 bln.

NSG UK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s Nippon Sheet Glass Co. Ltd., which bought Pilkington Plc, the United Kingdom’s largest glassmaker, in 2006. NSG Group’s flat glass business, trading as Pilkington, has strong market positions in building products and the automotive sectors.