The European Investment Bank (EIB) and BPER Banca Group are providing EUR 50m for energy efficiency projects implemented by businesses of all sizes via an agreement, announced today, between the European Union and the Emilian banking group. This operation is the first project in Italy based on European Commission guarantees and assistance under the Private Finance For Energy Efficiency (PF4EE) EU instrument and the LIFE Programme, which is a joint initiative between the EIB and the Commission to increase the volume of loans to support energy efficiency investment. EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco, BPER Banca Group Managing Director Alessandro Vandelli and Vice General Manager Pierpio Cerfogli, and Artur Runge-Metzger from the European Commission's Directorate for Climate Action attended the event.

The aim of the new EIB/Commission instruments is to generate at least EUR 1bn in additional energy efficiency investment in Europe. By giving Italian businesses access to this financing on favourable terms, BPER and the EIB will contribute to EU objectives related to cutting CO2 emissions and tackling climate change.

BPER Banca Group Managing Director Alessandro Vandelli said: “I am particularly happy with this agreement, which names BPER as the pilot bank for this important project. It is even more relevant considering it was signed following a meticulous due diligence process that certified the quality and suitability of our bank's credit rating procedures. This therefore once again confirms our effective working relationship with the EIB Group and the European Commission, which had already proven successful on the signing of another important agreement in 2015 under the Investment Plan for Europe, aimed at supporting the most innovative Italian companies. Our bank continues to maintain and strengthen its expert activities to support entrepreneurship, in unison with the EU institutions, confirming its awareness and care for environmental issues and energy policy, which are decisive factors for growth.”

EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco highlighted the following: “Improving energy efficiency and tackling climate change are among the pillars of the EU bank's financing across all Member States. This is why I am delighted with this operation which, thanks to Commission guarantees and the dedication of our partner BPER, will make it possible to further expand the range of financial and advisory instruments offered to final beneficiaries.”

Commenting on this signature, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “I welcome the agreement to make EUR 50m available to Italian small businesses. And unlocking investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency will create local jobs, protect the environment and strengthen economic growth. This is a great opportunity for Italian small businesses, and I really hope they will seize it.”

More specifically, the instrument applied (PF4EE) combines three elements. The first element is financing on favourable terms from the EIB to BPER, with the latter managing the selection and distribution of the loans to businesses. The second element is a European Commission guarantee partially covering the risk borne by BPER. The third element consists in providing technical assistance to BPER in order to strengthen its lending activities expressly directed towards energy efficiency investment.

In particular, the projects for which businesses can request financing from BPER Banca Group, assisted for the purpose of this agreement by con FISG (Gruppo Banca Finint) must be connected to the energy efficiency of buildings or productive structures, district heating or district cooling plants, public lighting infrastructure, or high efficiency heat and power cogeneration plants.