France: EIB and Avril finalise €50 million loan to finance research in plant protein and biosourced materials
18 February 2021
EIB contribution of €50 million to accelerate innovative projects in plant protein and plant chemistry.
First long-term partnership between the EIB and the Avril Group under the Investment Plan for Europe (or “Juncker Plan”).
Focus on food sovereignty and decarbonisation of materials used in chemistry.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the agrifood group Avril announce the finalisation of a €50 million loan for the financing of innovative projects in the fields of plant protein and plant chemistry. This is the first partnership of its kind between the EIB and the Avril Group.
This contribution of additional long-term resources will accelerate the development of innovation programmes included in its “Avril 2023” strategic plan, including:
The production of protein for human consumption and animal nutrition from oilseeds (rapeseed, sunflower and soybean).
The development of biosourced materials replacing fossil resources for use in chemistry.
Avril’s investments in these projects amount to €134 million over a three-year period. The various programmes will be rolled out in Avril’s research facilities and innovative sites in France, Belgium and Germany.
This EIB financial contribution in support of the Avril Group’s research programmes comes under the Juncker Plan established with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). A joint initiative of the EIB Group and the European Commission, EFSI is expected to unlock at least €500 billion worth of additional investments in Europe by focusing its efforts on sectors of key importance to the European economy, such as R&D financing and innovation.
“By supporting the Avril Group’s research projects in plant protein and green chemistry produced from biosourced materials as opposed to fossil resources, this loan is fully in line with the European Union’s aim to strengthen our food sovereignty, which is essential to achieving the climate and environmental objectives set in the Paris Agreement”, said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “Beyond its purely financial aspect, this partnership is also the result of the intensive work carried out jointly by the Avril and EIB teams to finalise a project aimed at making better use of agricultural resources in order to boost their producers’ revenues and make their sectors more competitive.”
“We welcome this first partnership”, said Jean-Philippe Puig, CEO of the Avril Group. “Innovation lies at the heart of the strategy of developing and conquering new markets for Avril. The confidence shown by the European Investment Bank and its support for our research projects will clearly accelerate the marketing of concrete solutions derived from the agricultural sector, ensuring opportunities for the oilseed and protein crops sector as a whole at a time when reducing our dependence on protein and decarbonising materials represent key challenges for humankind and our planet.”
Building on its leadership in seed purchasing and processing, Avril anticipates market growth for plant protein, an essential component of a healthy diet for a global population that is set to reach the 10 billion mark by 2050.
Renewable chemistry is also a promising area of strategic development for oilseeds. It responds to growing consumer demand for biosourced products that are both renewable and environmentally friendly.
Founded in 1983 at the initiative of farmers to ensure sustainable markets for French products, Avril is a key industrial and financial player in the vegetable oil and plant protein sectors.
Active in France and internationally, in sectors as diverse as human nutrition, animal nutrition and expertise, energy and renewable chemicals, the Avril Group boasts a portfolio of recognised brands that are market leaders: Diester®, Sanders, Lesieur, Puget, Matines, Bunica, Taous, etc.
In line with its original mission aimed at creating lasting value for the oil and protein sectors, thus contributing to a better diet and helping to preserve the planet, Avril operates in two complementary fields of activity – as an industrialist in the plant and animal sectors, and as an investor, led by its subsidiary Sofiprotéol.
In 2019 the Avril Group generated a turnover of €5.8 billion. Active in 19 countries, it has nearly 7 600 employees in 83 industrial sites across the globe.
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