>@Dusan Ondrejicka/EIB
©Dusan Ondrejicka/EIB
  • EIB lending amounted to EUR 616m, representing almost a 100% increase compared to 2017
  • EIF committed EUR 14.4m in three operations, aimed at mobilising EUR 71m in overall investments
  • In total, some 1 700 small businesses benefited from EIB Group operations supporting around 239 000 jobs in Slovakia in 2018

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), comprising the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its subsidiary, the European Investment Fund (EIF), provided EUR 631 in loans, guarantees and equity in Slovakia in 2018. This represents an increase of 93% compared to EIB support in Slovakia in 2017.

The EIF committed EUR 14.4m in three operations, aimed at raising EUR 71m on the market in overall investments. The EIB Group’s activity had a positive impact on jobs, with some 1 400 businesses particularly benefiting from EIF operations in Slovakia in 2018. These operations supported approximately 6 000 jobs.

Part of the EIB Group financing was made possible under the Investment Plan for Europe, or “Juncker Plan”, as it is commonly known. Under this Plan, launched in 2015, the EIB grants loans guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and also provides advice via the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH). So far, the EIB Group has approved projects benefiting from EFSI guarantees totalling EUR 537m for Slovakia, triggering potential investments of EUR 1.19bn.

EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák commented: “2018 was a successful year for EIB operations in Slovakia. The EIB Group almost doubled its volume of loan signatures in the country compared to the previous year, reaching EUR 631m. We financed the projects of some 1 700 smaller businesses and supported around 239 000 jobs. In addition to lending operations, we provided advisory services in various forms (e.g. for project preparation) totalling EUR 7bn in terms of completed project value, providing further know-how under the Investment Plan for Europe and creating investment platforms to facilitate innovative investments.”

Strategic infrastructure

In 2018, the EU bank provided EUR 320m to the Slovak government for transport infrastructure. The EIB funds co-finance priority projects supported by EU funds from 2014 to 2020. This loan is the second tranche of a EUR 670m EIB lending package, after a EUR 350m loan granted in 2015.

This EIB financing is combined with EU grants from the Operational Programme for Integrated Infrastructure and the Connecting Europe Facility, providing a total amount of EUR 4.7bn. This support is crucial for helping to build the missing sections of rail and road networks along strategic trans-European corridors, purchase railway rolling stock and build port infrastructure. The investments will also develop urban trams, upgrade regional roads and bypasses and implement intelligent transport and management systems for road and rail.

The EIB has approved 32 individual investment projects, such as the modernisation of the Púchov – Žilina railway line, enabling it to handle speeds of 160 km/h. Projects also include the construction of related infrastructure, integrated terminals and Park&Ride facilities. EIB funds will finance the modernisation of public transport in Bratislava, trams in Košice and trolleybuses in Prešov and Žilina. Other projects involve the reconstruction of national roads, bridges and bypasses in Brezno and Bardejov.

Support for Slovak corporates

The EIB is a long-term partner of the Slovak corporate community. Last year, EIB corporate lending was mainly directed to the energy sector. The Bank granted a EUR 60m loan to Slovenské elektrárne, a long-term partner of the EU bank, to support nuclear safety improvements in nuclear power plants. These investments enable the Slovak electricity generation company to fulfil its obligations under EU and national legislation and support the safe operation of low-carbon electricity generation. It implements certain measures defined in the National Action Plan for Slovakia, prepared on the basis of the post-Fukushima European Stress Tests for Nuclear Power Plants.

In 2018, the EIB also granted a loan of EUR 60m to SPP – distribúcia, a.s. (Slovak Gas Distribution Company) to finance its four-year investment programme. In particular, it includes the replacement of old pipelines operating under various pressures, the reconstruction of regulation stations and the updating of key information technology systems and metering equipment in various parts of Slovakia.

Last year, the EU bank provided a EUR 17m loan to GreenWay Group, Slovakia’s leader in charging stations and services for electric vehicles. The EIB funds will enable GreenWay to expand its network of charging stations for electric vehicles on a large scale across Central and Eastern Europe. This will contribute to accelerating the transition to lower-carbon vehicles in the European Union.

Loans for SMEs and mid-caps

The EIB concluded five intermediated loan contracts amounting to EUR 165m with Slovakia’s financing institutions in 2018. These institutions will lend the EIB funds to SMEs and municipalities to support local infrastructure, environmental protection, energy, R&D and innovation, and services, including tourism.

EIB loans help SMEs get medium and long-term funds at good rates. The estimated aggregate number of SME and mid-cap projects to be financed from EIB loans in Slovakia in 2018 is 320, supporting about 233 000 jobs.

In 2018, among others, the EU bank provided EUR 50m to EXIMBANKA to finance projects promoted by export-oriented small and medium-sized businesses in Slovakia. As the country’s national export financial institution, EXIMBANKA contributes to the Slovak Government’s economic development policies.

EIB Advisory Services

In Slovakia, Advisory Services are delivered mainly through JASPERS, the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) and Financial Instruments Advisory (FIA), InnovFin Advisory (IFA) and the European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC).

JASPERS (Joint Assistance Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions) has operated in Slovakia since in 2006. To date, 90 assignments have been completed, 70% of which were in the transport sector and 82% of which were in support of major projects amounting in total to some EUR 16bn. In addition, 27 assignments are still ongoing. In over a third of them (40%), we are currently helping to build capacity or providing horizontal and strategic advice. 

In 2018, JASPERS completed 16 assignments in Slovakia. Once again, the transport sector attracted most of the assistance (81% of all assignments). JASPERS is now assisting more sectors, such as smart development. In 2018, it completed an assignment that should improve broadband internet accessibility in the Slovak Republic, and it started working on an assignment that should lead to a Smart City Strategy and Road Map for Bratislava. 

The Advisory Hub, a partnership programme between the EIB and the European Commission, is actively represented in Slovakia. As of the end of 2018, the Hub had processed 16 advisory requests and provided advisory support for two investment platforms. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Slovak Investment Holding (SIH). In March 2018, the EIAH and SIH organised an EIAH roadshow in Bratislava. The Hub, through the Financial Instruments Advisory, is providing support to SIH in the identification and development of a pipeline of projects, in order to develop investment opportunities in the area of smart cities (Smart Cities Investment Platform).

To explore the potential of a regional advisory and investment platform in the Visegrad counties, a feasibility study is currently being designed in the framework of the Visegrad Advisory and Investment Platform. The study has focused on the need for capacity building and project-related technical assistance support, as well as assessing the possibility of mobilising more private sector investment into infrastructure projects of regional importance.

The Financial Instruments Advisory, in close cooperation with JASPERS, is providing advice to the Ministry of Finance on the use of energy performance contracting for public sector building renovation. This assignment includes advice on model contracts and the financing of energy service companies (ESCOs).