The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), which consists of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), provided loans and guarantees worth 359 million euro to Bulgaria in 2019, the EIB Group said on February 27.
“2019 was a successful year for the EIB Group in Bulgaria,” EIB Group vice-president Lilyana Pavlova said, according to an EIB Group media statement.
“We supported operations totalling 359 million euro, both in the public and private sector. We also increasingly used the Investment Plan for Europe to finance innovative projects. I am convinced that our financing has substantial impact on people and that it is boosting the economic development of Bulgaria,” she said.
The about 3 800 companies that benefited from EIB Group operations last year employ some 79 000 people throughout Bulgaria, the statement said
“We are looking forward to continuing to work towards the improvement of social, economic, transport and environmental infrastructure and further development of the public and private sectors in the country as well as to financing undertakings helping to meet Bulgaria’s commitments in the area of climate action.”
In 2019, the EIB provided a 65 million euro loan to KCM AD, a Bulgarian producer of lead and zinc, to finance its technological modernisation and upgrading programme.
The investment will reduce the environmental impact of KCM’s production to comply with more stringent future regulations and ensure better working conditions. At the same time, resource efficiency will improve due to higher use of recycled materials and production output will increase by 25 per cent, the statement said.
The bank granted a loan of 18 million euro to Software Group – a global technology company helping financial service providers digitise their business and successfully go through the process of digital transformation. This was the first EIB transaction with venture debt features in Bulgaria.
In addition, the EU bank provided a 47 million euro loan to modernise and expand the production facilities of Maspex Group, a leading food and drink producer in Central and South-Eastern Europe. The investment is focused on less developed regions in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania. The financing available for the Bulgarian production facilities amounts to three million euro and targets the modernisation of the food and drink production and the storage facilities in Velingrad.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the financial pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, which was launched in 2015. Up to the end of 2019, the EIB Group had approved EFSI projects worth 546 million euro in Bulgaria. They are expected to generate total investment of 2.7 billion euro, the statement said.
The EIB provided a 110 million euro loan for the construction of a gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece. The facility also establishes a link with the Trans Adriatic Gas Pipeline, which runs through northern Greece. It is part of a wider plan to better connect the energy markets of South-East-European countries, and aims to improve the security of gas supplies and the efficiency of the networks in the region.
The EIB concluded an intermediated loan of 20 million euro with Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria. The financial institution will on-lend the EIB funds to small and medium-sized companies (SMEs and mid-caps) for projects in the fields of agriculture, energy, trade and services, including tourism. In 2019, about 400 Bulgarian SMEs and mid-caps benefited from EIB lending and 11 000 jobs were supported. In addition, the EIF committed 149 million euro to seven operations, which are expected to benefit about 3 400 companies and support 68 000 jobs, the EIB said.
Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS) completed 10 advisory assignments in Bulgaria: seven water projects and three transport assignments. The European Commission approved one JASPERS-supported project, a Greek-Bulgarian gas interconnector (co-financed by the EIB) with total investment costs of 240 million euro and 33 million euro of grant support.
To date, JASPERS has delivered 129 advisory assignments to Bulgaria’s authorities, supporting 98 projects with an underlying investment cost of more than nine billion euro, the EIB said.
(Photo of Pavlova: EIB Group)