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EIB Provides EUR 150m in Fresh Loans for Car Makers, Gas Supplier

Ljubljana, 28 October (STA) - The state-owned SID export and development bank and gas pipeline operator Geoplin plinovodi sign loan contracts with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on Thursday worth EUR 50m and EUR 100m respectively. SID will use the funds to provide loans to the country's automotive cluster and Geoplin for pipelines.

The loan for SID, signed by the bank's head Sibil Svilan and EIB vice-president Anton Rop, is part of the second line of funding for the projects of the automotive cluster related to research and development in the field of emission cuts and energy efficiency.

Svilan said the SIB bank decided for additional funds in response to large demand and quality projects on the side of contractors in the automotive industry.

EIB provides relatively favourable loans to major car makers, such as Renault, BMW, Mercedes and Fiat for the development of hybrid and electric vehicles, Rop said.

"This enables the European car industry to stay competitive on the global market. If Slovenian car makers do not follow their partners, they will not be able to continue with the cooperation," he elaborated.

The entire value of funding for the automotive industry in Slovenia stands at EUR 211m, EUR 130m of which were obtained by SID from EIB (a EUR 80m loan was taken out last year). EUR 81m were secured from other sources.

SID has used the funds to back 27 projects of 16 companies, among them by TPV, LTH Ulitki, Hidria, Magneti, Alpmetal & CO, EMO Orodjarna, Cimos, Kolektor, MLM, Unior, Iskra Avtoelektrika, Store Steel and Helios, all of which are either car parts makers or companies involved in the automotive cluster.

According to SID, the companies were able to increase revenues by a total of EUR 498m, cut CO2 emissions by 4.7m tonnes on an annual basis and create 31 innovative solutions as a result of the support.

Rop also met with head of Geoplin, Alojz Stana, to sign a contract on a EUR 100m loan, which the national gas distributor will use to construct a gas pipeline network extending over 235 kilometres.

Rop was also scheduled to meet Development and EU Affairs Minister Mitja Gaspari to discuss EIB's plans to increase research and development funding in new EU member states. The matter will also be discuss with other ministers.

On Friday Rop will meet Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic to present projects dealing with energy efficiency on the local level and city development.

SID took out a EUR 380m loan with EIB in July last year, a large part of which was also used to fund small and medium sized companies, for the development of municipalities and environmental protection.

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