The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 125m loan to Spanish company Abengoa to support its research, development and innovation activities.

Part of the finance provided by the EIB (EUR 50m) will be submitted for backing by the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The rest of the loan (up to EUR 75m) is supported by “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators”, a new range of EIB Group products which benefit from the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and are designed to facilitate access to finance for innovative businesses.

This long-term EIB loan will support the company's research in the areas of biotechnology and the development of chemical processes for refineries, water treatment, advanced electrical systems and renewable energies. These activities will be carried out at Abengoa's research centres in Andalusia, a region with high unemployment.

Abengoa's RDI programme is designed to increase the company's competitiveness by innovating clean/green energy and environmental technologies that will bring major environmental benefits.  By financing these RDI investments, the EIB will also give a major boost to the company’s sustainable growth and the creation of qualified jobs in Andalusia.

The possibility of the Instituto de Crédito Oficial providing a EUR 30m contribution is also being examined.  In this way the operation will combine funding from InnovFin, EFSI and a state bank to maximise support for high value added job-creating projects in priority sectors.

Note to editors

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment projects in order to contribute towards EU policy objectives.

InnovFin financial products

Under Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Over the next seven years, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will offer a range of tailored products which will make available more than EUR 24bn of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48bn of final R&I investments.

InnovFin builds on the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility developed under the seventh EU framework programme for research and technological development (FP7), which financed 114 R&I projects to the tune of EUR 11.3bn and in addition provided loan guarantees worth over EUR 1.4bn.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries. These debt instruments will be complemented in the near future by a suite of equity instruments managed by the EIF.

InnovFin Large Projects aims to improve access to risk finance for R&I projects emanating from larger firms, universities and public research organisations, R&I infrastructures (including innovation-enabling infrastructures), public-private partnerships, and special-purpose vehicles or projects (including those promoting first-of-a-kind, commercial-scale industrial demonstration projects). Loans and guarantees from EUR 25m to EUR 300m will be delivered directly by the EIB.