LONDON AVL List GmbH is the first company to receive a loan through the European Union-backed Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF), an financing tool to support higher risk financing for projects in the area of research, development and innovation.
European Investment Bank (EIB) President Philippe Maystadt signed the loan contract with Professor Helmut List, chairman and CEO of AVL List GmbH (Graz, Austria) that provides a €30million (about $41million) to finance research and experimental developments from 2007 to 2009 for powertrain technologies and related instrumentation and testing systems.
The project is focused on the development of clean and efficient automotive powertrains focused on the decrease of emissions with positive implication for the reduction of the impact of transport on climate change. The project also involves research in the areas of hydrogen fuel cell technology, nanocomposites and engine technologies improving energy efficiency.
“This RSFF loan to AVL demonstrates the Bank’s and the EC’s commitment to support innovative companies not only in Austria but also throughout the entire EU that are the key drivers of European competitiveness. This is possible thanks to the fruitful cooperation between the European Commission and the EIB which are providing capital contributions and professional expertise to support RDI projects fostering the implementation of the Lisbon Agenda,” said Maystadt.
AVL was established over 50 years ago and has 3,400 employees providing R&D support to many major car manufacturers worldwide. It has developed several innovative break-through powertrain technologies and has established a strong reputation in fuel saving technologies for powertrain systems, which should contribute in combination with the company’s strong network of cooperation partners to the achievement of European objectives of higher energy efficiency and lower CO2 emissions from transport.
AVL is a leading coordinator of the European Technology Platform for Embedded Systems (ARTEMIS) and also participated in numerous EU supported projects under the second to the sixth framework program.
The RSFF aims to make more financing available for promoters of research and innovation projects, which often face more difficulties than traditional business sectors in accessing finance due to the relatively high levels of uncertainty and risk inherent to their activity.
EIB’s implementation strategy for the RSFF will comprise offering new financial products to the market such as mezzanine financing, research infrastructure loans and risk sharing credit facilities with partner banks to address the specific needs of individual groups of promoters.
EIB intends to implement RSFF in collaboration with all major EU national and regional banks, which are providing support to the development of European companies.
Under RSFF, EIB expects to provide the necessary capital to underpin the expected loans and guarantees by the EIB of some €10 billion over the coming 7 years and has based on the €2 billion funding that the European Commission through the 7th Framework Programme, and the EIB have reserved for this purpose.