The European Investment Bank has officially announced a EUR 40m loan to the Sill Group, supported by the Investment Plan for Europe (the Juncker Plan). This loan is intended to fund a new milk drying tower in Landivisiau and the group’s research and development activities.

Sill is a family-owned group founded in 1962 in Plouvien in Brittany. It is active in the dairy, fruit juice, soups and frozen ready meals markets. It has more than 1 400 employees, chiefly at eight sites in France, including six in Brittany.

The EIB loan is earmarked firstly for the construction of a new infant milk production unit to meet growing demand for this product, coupled with a strong quality requirement from consumers. Equipped with high-performance machinery meeting the strictest quality, health and safety standards, the plant will begin operating in 2021 with projected annual production figures of 18 000 tonnes, exclusively for export to three major destinations – China, the Middle East and Africa.

Part of the loan will also concern Sill’s R&D activities and will support its innovation strategy with respect to food products, ingredients and improvements to industrial processes.

In total, these investments amount to EUR 180m, partly financed by the EIB (EUR 40m), with the remainder coming from a pool of private lenders. Ultimately, the investments are expected to create 53 permanent jobs.

This is the third operation in France under the Agriculture and Bioeconomy Programme Loan, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is at the heart of the Juncker Plan.

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici stated: “With this agreement, the Juncker Plan is demonstrating its ability to support the development of our regions. Agrifood is a vital sector for Brittany and this loan will enable Sill to develop more innovative industrial processes, export more of its production and – most important of all – create jobs in the region.”

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said: “With this loan, the EIB – the bank of the European Union – is supporting a company that is an integral part of Brittany’s economic fabric by offering long-term financing to help it cover the cost of its industrial investments. This also provides further confirmation of the importance of the agrifood sector to the EU. In France, Sill is the third dairy company financed in the last three years under the Juncker Plan, which was launched by the EIB to support investment in Europe.”

Gilles Falc’hun, CEO of the Sill Entreprises Group, said: “It is both a relief to see this project materialise after four and a half years of procedures and deeply satisfying to be backed by our financial partners at this new stage in our group’s development as we look to add greater value to our product mix.”