Bilbao, 24.7.2018 – Fostering the development of an innovative and sustainable European car industry – this is the aim of the agreement signed today in Bilbao by CIE Automotive’s CEO, Jesús María Herrera, and EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro. The EU bank is providing a EUR 80 million loan under the Investment Plan for Europe to finance the firm’s RDI strategy aimed at developing innovative technologies to reduce the weight of vehicles and ensure more efficient, less polluting manufacturing processes.
CIE Automotive will focus its investment on innovation and the development of hybrid and lightweight materials. Its RDI programme is also aimed at the design and manufacture of new electric vehicle components. To this end, it will employ new digital production processes based on the circular economy that will increase energy efficiency through the recycling and reuse of raw materials.
The innovation investments financed by the EIB will carried out at CIE Automotive’s plants in Spain, France and Portugal. The agreement will also serve to finance the upgrading of the firm’s factories in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Portugal and Lithuania, all located in convergence regions.
The loan is backed by the Investment Plan for Europe, which enables the EIB to finance projects that present particular value added owing to their structure or nature. The programme will be implemented in the years up to 2022 and will help to safeguard quality jobs. CIE Automotive currently has 23,000 employees.
"Supporting innovation by large corporates is essential to guaranteeing their future and their ability to compete globally. As the EU bank, we are pleased to be mounting an operation that, by providing funds for a Spanish multinational, is helping to secure Europe’s leadership in the car industry” said EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro in Bilbao today. "This agreement will enable seven European countries to benefit from EIB financing and will help research centres and European universities to develop new patents within the EU".
EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, said about the agreement: "This highly innovative project is a good example of what the Juncker Plan is trying to achieve: supporting European firms in their modernisation, expansion and transition to clean technologies. I am also pleased that with this EU funding, CIE Automotive will be able to upgrade its plants in many European regions and continue employing thousands of people."
In the words of Jesús Maria Herrera, CEO of CIE Automotive: “The signing of this new finance contract between the EIB and CIE – the third in the past nine years – represents the consolidation of a relationship that has always been aimed at fostering the efficiency, capacity for innovation and competitiveness of Spanish companies in the highly globalised automotive industry”. He went on to say that: “This loan also forms part of the diversification of the CIE Group’s structural funding in the development of its current strategic plan”.