EU bank targets
carbon-reduction projects. Antonio Fabrizio


At least €2.3bn of the funds
disbursed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) last year went to
leasing companies. Subsidiaries of UniCredit Leasing, SG Equipment
Finance and BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions were among the largest
recipients of the funds.

The EIB provides credit lines
to intermediaries in the banking and leasing sectors for the
financing of SMEs and renewable energy projects.

Last year, the vast majority
of EIB’s €72bn lending was used for projects carried out by SMEs
and mid-cap companies, and for projects in less advanced regions of
Europe. Around 30% of that went to renewable energy and energy
efficiency projects – €3bn more than in 2009.

The funds form part of the
EIB’s commitment to support a low-carbon economy across Europe,
including future member states of the EU and EU partner countries.
The bulk of the lending, however, went to countries inside the

The bank is supporting
investments in wind, solar and biomass technology. It has also
directed part of its funds for the development of electric vehicles
and more energy efficient transportation.

In the UK, though not
providing credit lines specifically to lessors, it lent €4.8bn.
This included a cumulative €940m to Land Rover and Ford Motor for
research and engineering activities aimed at developing cleaner
engines, next generation commercial vehicles and at achieving CO2
emission targets. RBS was one of the largest recipients of funds,
with €370m earmarked for SME lending.

The EIB’s reaffirmed
commitment towards the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy
follows comments in late January by EU Energy Commissioner Günther
Oettinger that the EU will have to double its spending on
renewables if it wants to meet its 2020 targets.

The EU is committed to having 20% of its energy needs
filled by renewable energy sources.

Table showing how SMEs top EIB list as preferred recipients of €2.4bn in 2010