The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank, and the Saint Jean Industries group announce the signature on Friday 6 October 2017 of a EUR 45m loan agreement designed to support the French group’s R&D activities and investment. The contract was signed in Saint Jean d’Ardières near Lyon by EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle and the CEO of the Saint Jean Industries group Emile di Serio.  The ceremony was followed by a site visit. 

This first financing operation between the EU bank and the Saint Jean Industries group is backed by an EU guarantee under the Investment Plan for Europe (commonly known as the Juncker Plan) and comes with attractive financial terms tailored to this type of investment.

“Our aim with this new Juncker Plan loan is to strengthen this innovative growth firm’s global positioning and competitiveness” said Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle at the signing ceremony. “The loan will serve to increase the production efficiency, safety and environmental performance of operations on the group's different sites in Europe while giving a boost to its research into new products and processes. It forms part of our priority action in support of industrial innovation and smart and environmentally friendly transport. It also meets the objectives of the French government’s major new Investment Plan.”

Emile di Serio, CEO of the Saint Jean Industries group, said: “After 55 years of a magnificent industrial adventure our family is proud to be able to put the finishing touches to what is the biggest ever financing operation in the history of the group. Innovation like the COBAPRESS™ process developed by my father has become part of the DNA our company. We have firmly established our vocation over the years so that today we are a strong, vital and independent global industrial group which offers innovative solutions to its customers, improving its professional expertise and products every day in pursuit of “blue skies” under which everyone can develop and flourish. We wish to work to build a cleaner world by reducing the use of natural resources, expending less capital, energy and time.” 

This European funding will support the group’s research, development and innovation (RDI) programmes in France in the period 2017-2019, but also its investment in production lines in France, Germany, Croatia and Spain, including the acquisition of new process equipment, upgrading of existing production facilities, site maintenance and environmental and safety improvements. The environmental aspect is an essential element of the project, including in particular the industrial production of lighter components helping to reduce polluting emissions from vehicles. The project financed will also have a high social impact by creating more than 150 new jobs in Europe during the life of the investment.

With innovation and R&D as one of its top priorities, in 2016 the EIB Group provided EUR 13.5bn for innovative projects across Europe, financing the research programmes of both large groups and innovative enterprises. In France in 2016, 38% of the EIB Group's total investment of EUR 9.3bn was devoted to supporting businesses, innovation and R&D.

The Juncker Plan is continuing to gather momentum in France, with a running total of 99 operations providing EUR 7.5bn in EIB Group financing set to mobilise EUR 35.4bn in additional investments.