>@Dusan Ondrejicka/EIB

  • Strengthening innovation in Europe’s pharmaceutical sector
  • 210 new jobs to be generated in rural Bulgaria
  • Reinforcing Europe’s leading position in the global animal health sector

The EIB loan guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) will create more than 200 jobs in rural areas and strengthen the agriculture sector in Bulgaria. The deal was signed in Sofia in the presence of Commission President Juncker and Prime Minister Borissov.

As the College of Commissioners visit Sofia to mark the beginning of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 100 million loan with Bulgarian agri-pharma business Huvepharma to finance a boost in production levels and research and development (R&D) in the area of animal health. The loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. As a result of this financing, 210 jobs will be created in rural parts of Bulgaria.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov witnessed the signing of today's deal by Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell and Kiril Domuschiev, Chief Executive Officer of Biovet's parent company Huvepharma.

EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell commented: “This operation supported by the EIB and the Investment Plan for Europe will strengthen the competitiveness of a leading company in the veterinary sector in Bulgaria, reinforcing Europe’s leading position in the animal health market. This is important as animal health is a key element of the EU farming industry and an area of concern for all European citizens.”

Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "It is a great pleasure to be here to sign the biggest EFSI transaction in Bulgaria so far: EUR 100 million to Biovet. Thanks to the EU budget guarantee, the EIB was able to offer the company this loan and as a result we will see more R&D activity in rural areas in Bulgaria, leading to growth in the economy and the creation of new jobs. I wish every success to Biovet, and to the Bulgarian Presidency for the next six months."

Commissioner Phil Hogan, responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "Investment in the agriculture sector is crucial and I welcome the EIB's commitment to supporting agri companies such as Biovet. This is a growth sector which will provide jobs in rural areas and boost the economy."

Bulgarian Agriculture Minister Rumen Porodzanov said: "I am delighted that the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union starts with such an important message to the Bulgarian agricultural sector. The financing of this project embodies the European Investment Bank’s commitment towards the Bulgarian government and Bulgarian business. The possibility of implementing such an extremely important and effective project in the field of veterinary medicine and animal health care is indicative of the prospects for Bulgarian agriculture. We are proud that the Huvepharma project is part of the Juncker Plan."

Huvepharma CEO Kiril Domuschiev said: "Huvepharma is determined to continue its growth strategy as an EU-based animal health company operating on global markets. The EIB’s support enables us to accelerate our investments in Bulgarian production and R&D facilities, thereby reinforcing our strategy to build a fully integrated animal health company with production facilities in the EU and selling on global markets.”

The project covers the design, construction and management of two new facilities: a new fermentation facility for the manufacturing of active substances, nutritional supplements, enzymes, probiotics and ready medicinal formulations for animal and human health and a new plant for the manufacturing of animal vaccines. The project supports the capacity expansion of one of the few European players in the poultry and swine segment of animal health. It also supports R&D in the fields of microbiology and the development of new products, such as vaccines and enzymes, as well as process improvement and formulation.

Both new facilities are located close to the existing manufacturing sites of Biovet. The fermentation facility will be located in Peshtera, a town situated in southern Bulgaria, 125 km south-east of Sofia. The vaccine plant will be located in Razgrad, a town situated in north-eastern Bulgaria, approximately 130 km from Varna. The project will be implemented between 2017 and 2019 and will give a boost to local employment by creating 210 additional jobs in areas with rare qualified job opportunities, characterised by high levels of unemployment.