Five projects approved under Juncker Plan

The European Investment Bank announced nearly €10 billion in total lending to strategic infrastructure investments yesterday.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) approved five projects under the Juncker Plan this week, the bank said.

Named after European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, the €315 million European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) officially launched yesterday (22 July). However, investment from the strategy is already underway.

Amongst the deals approved this week is a roll-out of gas and electricity meters for energy suppliers in the UK. The EIB will lend up to £335 million (€475.3 million; $521.3 million) with a total project cost of approximately £800 million. It has extended a long-term loan on favourable conditions in a bid to improve efficiency of power distribution systems, PDI understands.

The bank has also made a €50 million loan to Impax Energy Investors III, a renewable energy infrastructure fund, aimed at investing in the construction of on-shore wind, solar and hydro projects, primarily in selected European countries. The investment looks at supporting total projects of up to €500 million.

Under EFSI, the EIB working with the European Investment Fund (EIF), has agreed 30 engagements so far.

The duo are working with high street banks and alternative sources of financing to provide lending to small- to medium-sized enterprises (SME) as part of a broader engagement to support parts of the economy not served by banks.

The EIB runs the plan alongside its original lending remit. Yesterday, it announced nearly €10 billion of new loans for strategic infrastructure projects, worldwide, agreeing financing for 45 projects in total.

Lending to improve SME finance included new engagements approved in Austria, France, Italy and Poland, as well as Tunisia, South Africa and Zambia.

The EIB has committed €5 billion to the Junker Plan while the European Commission has signed off on €16 billion in guarantees, as previously reported by PDI. In an effort to kick-start growth, the European Union authorities plan to invest €21 billion in total in order to lever €315 billion via external investment channels into the European economy.