The EU bank is lending EUR 60m to SPP-distribúcia to upgrade its gas distribution network
It is also lending EUR 17m to GreenWay to support the expansion of charging stations for electric cars in Central and Eastern Europe
By moving to the new premises, the EU bank joins the representative offices of other EU institutions in Slovakia
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is signing today in Bratislava two loan agreements with two energy companies that have different business models but share the same goal of promoting a better use of energy resources.
A first EUR 60m loan will go to SPP-distribúcia, a.s., the main gas distribution company in Slovakia, to finance the upgrade of its existing gas distribution network. The project involves mainly the replacement and refurbishment of old metallic pipelines and surface infrastructure to increase the network safety and improve service reliability.
This operation continues the successful cooperation between the EU bank and SPP‑distribúcia. Two previous EIB loans totalling EUR 135m financed SPP environmental and safety investments and upgrading measures on the company’s gas network.
A second EUR 17m loan will benefit GreenWay Group, Slovakia’s leader of charging stations & services for electric vehicles. EIB funds will allow GreenWay to expand its network of charging stations for electric vehicles at large scale in Central and Eastern Europe. This will contribute to accelerate the transition towards lower carbon transport vehicles in the European Union. The EIB’s financing to GreenWay is the first project in Central and Eastern Europe supported by ‘InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators’ Energy Demonstration Projects', with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.
On the same day of those signatures, the EIB Representation in Slovakia inaugurates officially its new office in the European House, at Palisády 29, Bratislava, which is already the home of the EU Representation and the Information Office of the European Parliament. With this move, the EIB strengthens its presence in the country and continues to ensure market proximity, while at the same time making good use of synergies and cooperation with EU institutions. EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák commented: “The upgrading of energy infrastructure, be it in the form of improving the quality of the gas distribution network or increasing the availability of charging stations for electric vehicles, is important for strengthening Slovakia’s competitiveness and improving the environment. The support for this innovative energy investment fits in particularly well with the objectives of the Slovak Battery Alliance, which we recently established with the European Commission and the Slovak Government”. He added: “The fact that the EU bank now operates out of the European House, together with our partner EU institutions, is particularly significant as we are all members of one EU family working together to improve the everyday lives of people living in Slovakia.”
European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič stated: “Our economic future depends on our leadership in the solutions of tomorrow and clean mobility is part of it. The EV market in Europe will grow fast in the coming years and so will the need for a dense, reliable network of charging stations.We estimate that 800,000 public charging points are needed in the EU by 2020.Therefore, I am pleased to see the GreenWay project – with a strong innovative element – to become the first Central and Eastern European project benefitting from the InnovFin EDP instrument. Toplug the gap in charging infrastructure is essential for consumers’ trust in low and zero emission vehicles. To innovate is essential for Europe’s long-term competitiveness.” He also welcomed the EIB loan to SPP-distribúcia, underlining that “By improving the network quality, we are boosting energy security in the region.”
Chairman of BoD of SPP-distribúcia, a.s. František Čupra noted: “We are pleased that the EIB perceives SPP - distribúcia, a. s., as a reliable and relevant partner. EIB financing will help to improving the quality of gas distribution network of Slovakia”.
Co-founder and Managing Partner of GreenWay Peter Badik said: “We are honoured to have the support and confidence of the European Investment Bank as we pursue our vision for the widespread adoption of electric mobility. EIB financing is a key component of our EUR 34 million growth plan to add many hundreds more charging stations throughout the region, deploy cutting-edge technologies and improve customer services. As we remove the bottlenecks for the mass roll-out of electric vehicles in this region, it is the right time for local governments, the auto industry and other market players to join and support the transition to cleaner and healthier electric transport”.
As the largest multilateral borrower and lender by volume, the EIB provides finance and expertise for sound and sustainable investment projects which contribute to furthering EU policy objectives. More than 90% of EIB activity is focused on Europe but it also supports the EU's external and development policies.
Under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Until 2020, InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators will offer a range of tailored products which will make financing available for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and promoters of research infrastructure.
Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators supports R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. It is a demand-driven instrument, 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.
InnovFin Energy Demonstration Projects provides loans, loan guarantees and equity-type financing typically between EUR 7.5m and EUR 75m to innovative demonstration projects in the fields of energy system transformation, including but not limited to renewable energy technologies, smart energy systems, energy storage, carbon capture and storage or carbon capture and use, helping them to bridge the gap from demonstration to commercialisation. The product is deployed directly by the EIB.
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The EIB Group, consisting of the EIB and the EIF, has provided a mezzanine tranche guarantee of around €125 million to Commerzbank AG on an existing portfolio of loans to small and medium-sized companies (SMEs and mid-caps). The guarantee will release regulatory capital for Commerzbank and will enable it to provide new lending of up to €500 million to SMEs and mid-caps in Germany under favourable terms. This is expected to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on smaller businesses, self-employed individuals and mid-caps, which are currently experiencing shortages in liquidity.