EIB funding boost for water purification in Flanders
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has loaned a further 100M euros in Flemish wastewater purification company Aquafin for further build-out and optimisation of the water purification infrastructure in Flanders. The deal is a first tranche as part of a new 200M euro loan agreement. Aquafin has to finance the projects it carries out, and needs to constantly seek out financing.
"The EIB has always been our most important investor and provides approximately half of our total funding needs in the long-term, from the time when a project is delivered," said Jan Goossens, general manager of Aquafin. "We are able to make up the other half through financing from institutional investors and other financial institutions. We bridge the period when the projects are being implemented using short-term financing."
Pim van Ballekom, vice-president of the EIB and who is responsible for Belgium, said: "Our collaboration with Aquafin goes back a very long way and represents a clear example of a situation where European loans can have a big impact at the local level, often without many people being aware of it. The EIB has set itself the goal of awarding at least 25% of its loans to climate-related projects, so we are pleased with the high standards that Aquafin is maintaining in that area too."
Since investments by companies have an impact on people, the environment and society, the EIB like many other investors is paying more attention to the sustainability of the projects it supports. This was emphasised more than ever during preparations for the tenth financing agreement between Aquafin and the EIB since the Belgian company was formed in 1990.
Goossens said: "We had to demonstrate that at least a quarter of the investment value of the projects for which we are requesting financing will have a clear positive impact on climate change. This condition is fully met by projects for separating rainwater from the wastewater infrastructure and by optimisation projects that allow us to arm ourselves to deal with climate change.
“Projects that only involve linking pollutant loads to water purification do not meet the requirement, even though they do contribute towards a better living environment. The analysis carried out in the context of this tenth loan was an informative exercise for us. It has encouraged us to look at our projects from a different perspective."
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