EBRD extends €50 million loan to Poland’s Bank Millennium for energy projects

By Axel  Reiserer

 EBRD extends €50 million loan to Poland’s Bank Millennium for energy projects

Local small and medium-sized enterprises to benefit from new equipment

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Poland will benefit from a €50 million loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to Bank Millennium for on-lending to entrepreneurs who are seeking to reduce their energy costs with new and more efficient equipment.

Millennium Leasing, a fully owned subsidiary of Bank Millennium, will use at least 70 per cent of the proceeds of the EBRD loan to finance sustainable energy projects by Polish SMEs, while the remaining 30 per cent will be used for the financing of equipment, light commercial vehicles and trucks and trailers used by the enterprises.

The loan is being provided under the SME-focused Polish Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (PolSEFF Leasing) for Leasing which is the first sustainable energy financing framework without grants on the Polish market. PolSEFF was launched in 2010 for energy efficiency improvements as the Polish economy remains highly energy and carbon intensive, with the carbon intensity almost twice the European average.

To date, the EBRD has financed 457 SME projects that resulted in total annual savings of more than 50,000 MWh and 36,000 tCO2 under the PolSEFF programme. These savings equal the emissions of 230 return flights of an Airbus A320 between Warsaw and London.

Bank Millennium has already signed two facilities under the PolSEFF programme in 2010 and in 2012 and was the first of five participating financial institutions to start lending to Polish SMEs for energy efficiency improvements.

Noel Edison, EBRD Director for Insurance and Financial Services, said: “The EBRD is proud to sign this loan agreement as it provides us with another opportunity to support energy efficiency improvements in the Polish economy. This is not only good for the environment, but also good for the competitiveness of local enterprises, which is vital for the success of the key SME sector.”

Fernando Bicho, Deputy Chairman of Bank Millennium, added: “Bank Millennium and Millennium Leasing have proven our ability to finance energy saving investments in Polish SMEs. We are looking forward to the successful implementation of the new loan in cooperation with our long-term partner, the EBRD.”

Millennium Leasing is a fully-owned subsidiary of Bank Millennium, a universal bank with a focus on retail banking and in which the EBRD holds a 2.6 per cent-stake. Millennium Leasing is the seventh-largest leasing company in Poland. Financed assets include means of transportation, industrial machinery and equipment, computers as well as industrial and commercial real estate. Supporting the development of the leasing market is one of the EBRD’s priorities in Poland.

Since the beginning of its operations in Poland in 1991, the EBRD has invested €7.7 billion in more than 360 projects in the country. In addition to its wide product range for banks and companies, in recent years the Bank has also built a growing portfolio of investments (both equity and debt) in the Polish financial sector, for which demand remains high.