EIB and BNG Bank finance sustainability investment at VU university in Amsterdam

21 December 2017

VU Amsterdam, BNG Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a loan agreement today. The financing of EUR 140 million, equally split between EIB and BNG Bank, will be used for the construction of a multifunctional research building as well as for sustainability improvements in the campus’ energy supply. The project is also being supported by the European Commission under the InnovFin Science initiative in the framework of Horizon 2020.

T​he investment is part of a larger programme for the redevelopment of the VU campus, with the objective of further improving the quality of the teaching and research infrastructure. The  new research building of VU Amsterdam will have room for electro-microscopy and laser laboratories as well as for new classrooms and office space. In line with the 'energy master plan' of VU Amsterdam, the environmental footprint of the university will be clearly reduced. Further investments that are part of the campus investment programme will be financed by VU Amsterdam from its own funds.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "InnovFin Science is a new product helping to finance research activities and facilities. Today we are proud to announce InnovFin Science's first great achievement in the Netherlands, which is all about making one of the most prestigious university campuses greener and more energy-efficient thanks to Horizon 2020 and the EIB."

Marjolein Jansen, acting chairperson of the board of VU Amsterdam, adds: "This financing is an important contribution to both the modernisation and sustainability of the VU campus. This investment in our infrastructure is an essential condition for the quality of our education and our research. The EIB has shown to be an excellent partner in the first phase of our campus modernisation plan. On the basis of this successful collaboration, we are glad that the EIB and BNG Bank have renewed their confidence for the next phase of our campus plan. As they are not-for-profit institutions, both banks are ideally suited to VU Amsterdam."

"A knowledge economy can only flourish if it has the very best facilities, so the Bank is delighted to be able to support VU Amsterdam in the extension and upgrading of its campus" said EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom. "At the same time, combatting climate change is very high on the Bank's agenda, as demonstrated among other things by our issuance of green bonds, so this investment in VU was also a perfect fit in that regard."

"BNG Bank is one of the biggest financiers of the Dutch "energieakkoord" as well as of Dutch universities. The Bank is delighted that the VU will invest in better facilities and sustainability measures for her real estate, in the interest of a more sustainable Netherlands. We are therefore pleased that we can offer this funding to VU, together with our European partner, the EIB." says Pauline Bieringa, director Public Finance of BNG Bank.

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (ElB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. Last year the EIB provided a record EUR 2.56 billionfor projects in the Netherlands.

VU Amsterdam was founded in 1880 and is one of Amsterdam's two universities. It provides education for over 22 000 students and is ranked as one of the world's top 200 universities.

BNG Bank is an involved partner in making the Netherlands more sustainable. Based on its AAA-rating, it supports government policy by extending cheap financing to, amongst others, municipalities, housing corporations, healthcare and education institutions as well as sustainable project finance. The Bank does not focus on profit maximisation, rather it tries to maintain the cost of public facilities as low as possible, for the benefit of citizens. With a balance sheet of about EUR 150 billion, BNG Bank is the fourth biggest Bank in the Netherlands and features in the top 5 of the world's safest banks.

InnovFin Science supports research and innovation (R&I) investments by research institutes, universities and research organisations (public or private), including the financing of buildings and other infrastructure directly related to R&I activity. The product is deployed directly by the EIB in the form of debt or equity-type financing from EUR 25m.

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