The first in a series of loan agreements for energy efficiency investments in multi-apartment buildings was signed today between the European Investment Bank (EIB), as manager of the JESSICA holding fund in Lithuania, and Šiaulių bankas.

Under the terms of the agreement, Šiaulių bankas will provide modernisation loans for energy efficiency for a total amount of EUR 6 million (over LTL 20 million) to individual apartment owners. These owners can apply for 20-year loans with low and stable interest rates which must be used for energy efficiency investments, enabling considerable savings on energy bills.

The Lithuanian government’s JESSICA holding fund, managed by the EIB, was established by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environment of Lithuania in June of 2009 as an effective way of deploying EU Structural Funds for energy efficiency investments. The initial capital committed by the Lithuanian government to the JESSICA holding fund is EUR 227 million. This is the largest JESSICA holding fund established so far and it was also one of the first to be launched.

The loan agreement between the holding fund and Šiaulių bankas was signed today in Vilnius by Eva Srejber, EIB Vice-President, and Chairman of the Board of Šiaulių bankas Algirdas Butkus, with Minister of Environment Gediminas Kazlauskas attending the event.

“This is an important milestone for energy efficiency investments in Lithuania and an effective way of deploying EU Structural Funds,” Ms Srejber said, adding: “As the first JESSICA holding fund loan agreement with a bank, it is also an important milestone for JESSICA and the EIB.” 

Background notes:

The mission of the EIB, the European Union’s bank, is to contribute to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States by financing sound investments.

JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) is one of the Cohesion Policy Joint Initiatives that were developed by the European Commission to contribute to making EU Cohesion Policy more efficient and sustainable. The JESSICA mechanism is based on cooperation between the Commission, the EIB and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and supports investments in sustainable urban development and regeneration.

This initiative, designed to increase the use of financial engineering instruments, allows Managing Authorities to use some of their European Structural Funds allocations to invest in revolving funds rather than providing one-off grant financing. By so doing, the Authorities can recycle financial resources in order to enhance and accelerate investment in urban areas. These investments, which may take the form of equity, loans and/or guarantees, are delivered to projects via Urban Development Funds and, if required, Holding Funds.

Šiaulių bankas is focused on small and medium-sized business, funding of regional projects and rapid expansion of the sector of its retail banking. Šiaulių bankas has 51 territorial offices operating in 31 towns and rendering the banking service to its clientele all over Lithuania. The entire bank's office network works on real time on-line regime and pays much attention to the qualified servicing of the clients. The most important business line of the bank is lending. The long-term collaboration relates Šiaulių bankas with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and other financial partners.