Austria: EIB and UniCredit Bank Austria enable companies to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency
10 August 2022
The EU bank is providing UniCredit Bank Austria with a framework loan of up to €92 million.
The long-term loan supports Austria’s goal of generating 100% of electricity from renewables by 2030.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and UniCredit Bank Austria will support investments in small and medium-sized renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Austria. The EIB will make a framework loan of up to €92 million available to the Austrian bank, which will then create a credit portfolio of up to €200 million for financing clean energy projects.
The demand for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects is high: the Austrian government aims to generate 100% of electricity from wind, solar and hydropower by 2030. Decentralised photovoltaic systems are expected to play a significant role, including a 100 000 solar roofs programme. Hydropower, along with pumped storage and wind farms, are also part of the government’s programme.
These ambitious government goals have created a high demand for new, climate-friendly energy projects in Austria. This has caused a certain lack of competitively priced long-term financing sources being available for smaller and medium-sized renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
The EIB aims to fill this market gap together with partner banks and other financial intermediaries. To this end, last year the EU bank provided a climate action programme loan to Austria. The framework loan for UniCredit Bank Austria announced today is the first sub-operation within this EIB programme.
UniCredit Bank Austria has a solid record in financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Western Europe with a sizeable pipeline of initiatives in Austria.
EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros said: “We are very pleased to cooperate with UniCredit Bank Austria to get renewable energy and energy efficiency projects up and running. Austria already benefits from one of Europe’s most developed and efficient green energy markets with a strong record of successful climate action investments as well as an important pipeline of new projects expected in the coming years. The EIB will remain a strong and reliable partner in developing these sectors in Austria and supporting Europe’s transition to a fossil-free future.”
Dieter Hengl, member of the Management Board of UniCredit Bank Austria responsible for Corporates, said: “Climate protection and sustainability have long been major strategic topics for our bank. The financial sector as a whole has a central role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Channelling money flows into sustainable, climate-friendly industries, activities and initiatives is the key joint challenge of the future. I am very pleased that we are the first bank in Austria to have signed the climate action facility loan with the EIB. Together with the EIB, we are helping companies to become sustainable and climate-friendly and can thus enable our customers to invest in these important issues at particularly advantageous conditions.”
UniCredit Bank Austria is one of the leading and best capitalised major banks in Austria and part of UniCredit, a pan-European commercial bank with a unique service offering in Italy, Germany, and Central and Eastern Europe. Digitalisation and our commitment to ESG principles are key enablers for our service. They help us deliver excellence to our stakeholders and create a sustainable future for our clients, our communities and our people.
The EIB will make available EUR 230.9m to UniCredit Leasing Austria through the purchase of asset-backed securities (ABS). The “Success 2015” ABS transaction was arranged by UniCredit Bank Austria AG and Munich-based UniCredit Bank AG. The EIB is investing in the senior tranche, which has an AAA rating from Fitch and DBRS. UniCredit Leasing Austria will take the junior tranche (class B) amounting to around EUR 94.4 million on its books. The secured portfolio comprises motor vehicle leasing agreements (59 per cent) and other leased assets (41 per cent). The transaction, concluded in Luxembourg on Friday 20 November 2015, does not involve any changes for the lessees.
Austria is aiming to produce its entire electricity supply using renewable energies by 2030. To achieve this goal, major steps have already been taken in the form of wind farm repowering. An example of these repowering projects can be found in the municipalities of Gols and Mönchhof in Burgenland. Construction was launched in autumn 2019 and is expected to reach completion at the end of 2021. The entire wind farm will have capacity of 143 MW and provide around 90 000 households with electricity produced from renewable sources. With its 26 turbines, the project is one of the largest wind farms in Austria.
Bank Austria and the EIB signed a risk sharing agreement in Vienna, under which the EIB will in future no longer act purely as a provider of funding to Bank Austria but also, under a pilot project in association with the bank, grant low-interest loans to businesses.