EIB in Finland: Record level of support in 2016
This is an all-time record high for EIB commitment in Finland, also in terms of transactions guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a central element of the Investment Plan for Europe.
On opening the press conference on the 2016 EIB results in Finland, EIB Vice-President Jan Vapaavuori said: “The European Investment Bank is firmly committed to supporting long-term investments that improve quality of life and fuel growth and competitiveness.
“2016 was a record year for the EIB in Finland – we provided financing amounting to EUR 2.22bn and backed projects that benefit nearly everyone in the country. With the financing under EFSI, the EIB also unlocked more economic opportunities in Finland.”
In 2016, the Bank strengthened its support for fast-growing midcaps by providing financing to seven innovative Finnish companies: NewIcon, Canatu, AW-Energy, Frosmo, Mobidiag, Enevo and Valmet Automotive.
This enabled the growth strategy to continue and provided an alternative for equity-based financing.
Last year, mobilising private financing for strategic investments through EFSI led to the closure of four transactions in Finland for a total amount of almost EUR 370m by the EIB.
Under EFSI support, the EIB focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy investments and backed the construction of near-zero energy buildings (NZEBs) such as the first phase of Tripla in Pasila by YIT, as well as residential housing with SATO and VVO.
In addition, the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the EIB Group, closed two operations in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under EFSI for a total amount of EUR 115m bringing the total EIB Group commitments under EFSI in Finland to six operations and EUR 485m.
The EIB also continues to be an important financier of strategic infrastructure projects in Finland and in 2016 backed undertakings such as the extension of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the extension of the Mikkeli Central Hospital campus and the upgrade of municipal infrastructure in Rovaniemi and Oulu.
Fostering climate action, last year the EU Bank focused its efforts in Finland on projects in the energy and transport sectors that benefited the environment.
EIB loans for modern trams in Helsinki, the extension of the West Metro in Espoo and the retrofitting of sulphur oxide (SOx) "scrubbers" to Finnlines' fleet of 22 vessels promoted sustainable transport.
Financing of projects, such as the construction of NZEBs and the combined heat and power plant in Kilpilahti expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, were among the EIB’s contributions to improving Finland’s energy efficiency.
Finnish small and medium-sized enterprises also benefited from EIB support in 2016, thanks in part to the SME Initiative in cooperation with the Finnish Government and the EIF.
This initiative is expected to generate about EUR 400m in new SME loans on favourable terms through Finnish commercial banks. ■