Development of more environmentally friendly ship engines and power plants will receive a boost thanks to a loan agreement between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Wärtsilä, a leading supplier of power solutions for the marine and energy markets.

Under the agreement, signed today in Helsinki, the EIB will provide a EUR 150 m loan for Wärtsilä’s research, development and innovation (RDI) activities in Finland, Italy, Switzerland and several other European countries. The project supports the knowledge economy as the company conducts its RDI both internally and in close cooperation with European universities and research institutes, enabling such institutions to carry out advanced applied research and also creating and spreading technological know-how. The project will develop engines and power plants that are cleaner, more efficient, more reliable and with higher levels of automation, lower lifecycle costs and improved environmental performance. New maritime emission requirements are expected to increase the demand for clean engines and a similar trend is evident in land-based power plants.

“We are happy to sign this agreement with Wärtsilä, which will bring substantial benefits to the transport and energy sectors in environmental performance and fuel efficiency. These are key considerations for the EIB’s involvement in the world maritime equipment, components and specialist vessel industry,” said Wilhelm Molterer, EIB Vice-President responsible for Finland, at the signing ceremony.

“This R&D loan is a continuation of the long-standing and strong cooperation between the European Investment Bank and Wärtsilä. The loan is highly appreciated as it is an important building block in the long-term funding of investments in research and development work. Cutting edge R&D operations are key to retaining the position of the most competitive supplier in a fast-changing global market. Furthermore, the loan also adds to the solid funding position of Wärtsilä that is underlined by the current volatility in the European financial markets,” said Raimo Lind, Executive Vice President and CFO, Wärtsilä Corporation.

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. The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union, whose shareholders are the 27 Member States.

Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. With its headquarters in Helsinki, the company has operations in 70 countries and over 17,000 employees. Net sales in 2010 were EUR 4.6 bn.