The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a €460 million loan to Hera Group, one of Italy’s 40 largest companies by market capitalisation (part of the FTSE MIB) operating in over 300 Italian municipalities. The main goals of the financing are to strengthen the resilience of integrated water services, increase the production of renewable energy, foster energy efficiency, decarbonisation and the circular economy, and bolster waste processing and collection, all in order to support Hera Group’s areas of operation on their path to a sustainable environmental transition and help combat climate change.
This EU bank loan will finance over 60 Hera Group projects aligned with the EU taxonomy and in line with the objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda, helping the communities served by the Italian multi-utility on their path to a green transition closely connected to local society and industry. The EIB financing will therefore cover almost 60% of the total value of these investments (over €800 million) already planned by the company in its 2022-2026 industrial plan. Operations will mainly take place in Emilia-Romagna, but also in other areas served such as Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
In concrete terms, the EU bank resources will contribute to improving integrated water services via operations to further cut losses and renew rainwater collection and wastewater treatment facilities. Hera Group will increase its capacity for processing, recycling, and recovering waste by renovating existing collection centres and building new, cutting-edge plants for recycling plastic and carbon fibre and for the pre-treatment and storage of industrial waste. The EIB financing will also enable Hera Group to install over 370 000 second-generation smart meters in the regions concerned, as well as develop district heating and combined heat and power systems and build photovoltaic plants — even small-scale ones — to increase renewable energy production.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a €460 million loan to Hera Group, one of Italy’s 40 largest companies
Almost 40% of the EIB-financed investments will be made in the parts of Emilia-Romagna that were hit the hardest by the recent floods. The financed operations will improve the resilience of water services to future extreme weather events, including via the construction of underground rainwater collection tanks in areas of the Romagna coast subject to high hydrogeological risk. Elsewhere, a number of measures will be taken to make the sewerage network more resilient to flooding.
The financing announced today is part of the REPowerEU initiative supported by the EIB, which will invest an additional €30 billion over the next five years to unlock €115 billion, promoting the green transition and gradually reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels.
“This operation is a concrete example of the EIB’s commitment to promoting the sustainability, efficiency, and resilience of water, energy, and waste management infrastructure in Italy and across Europe,” said EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti. “The EIB loan will also back Hera Group’s efforts to strengthen the services provided in the parts of Emilia-Romagna affected by flooding to improve prevention and the resilience of water services to future natural disasters.”
“This financing from the EIB — a longstanding and steadfast partner of Hera Group — will give major impetus to our strategic plan and confirms our commitment to sustainable development in the regions where we operate, particularly with reference to the goals of decarbonisation, the circular economy, innovation, and resilience, in line with our company’s mission,” added Hera Group CEO Orazio Iacono. “It is a key component of our financial strategy that, as well as further expanding the range of innovative products and instruments adopted by the group, will also help support the 2022-2026 development plan, confirming the sound nature of our business and our financial flexibility.”
Strong EIB support for Italy’s water sector
The EIB is the EU climate bank and one of the world’s largest lenders to the water sector, with over 1 600 projects and around €80 billion in funding granted since 1958. Italy was the biggest beneficiary of EIB resources for the water sector from 2016 to 2022. The EIB financed 40 operations in the country during this period, providing a total of €2.9 billion and helping to unlock about €8.9 billion in investment.