EIB invests 400 million EUR in cleaner energy projects in Greece

Athens / Luxembourg, 26 May 2010. The European Investment Bank will provide a total of EUR 400 million to Hellenic Petroleum SA in order to increase the production of cleaner fuels via the upgrading of the Elefsina refinery.

The loan agreement signing ceremony was held at a hotel in central Athens. The contracts were signed for the EIB by Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, Vice-President, and for Hellenic Petroleum by Messrs John Costopoulos, CEO, and Andreas Shiamishis, CFO, in the presence of Mr Tassos Giannitsis, Chairman.

At the signing ceremony, EIB Vice-President Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris stated: “We are providing this finance to benefit both development and the environment in Greece, in our capacity as the European Union’s bank. In order to counteract the impact of the financial crisis on the Greek and European economies, we are substantially increasing our lending. Loans for cleaner energy form an integral and important part of our extended offering. This underlines once again the key role that entrepreneurial activity plays in strengthening the structural competitiveness of the EU’s economy. There is no doubt that such investment acts as a vital link in the innovation chain, creating employment and raising the level of job qualifications. This productive investment improves atmospheric conditions via state-of-the-art refining technology and by increasing cleaner fuel production. We are pleased to have Hellenic Petroleum, one of the most important players in South-East Europe, as a partner in this effort.”

Mr Tassos Giannitsis, the Chairman of Hellenic Petroleum, commented: “We are delighted to be partners of the European Investment Bank in this upgrade of our Elefsina refinery – the cornerstone of our investment programme. This EUR 1.2 billion investment, the largest industrial investment ever in Greece, will improve competitiveness, create new jobs, produce better and environmentally friendlier products, reduce imports, increase exports and importantly enhance the environmental performance of the refinery by substantially reducing all emissions. Project implementation is on track with completion expected in the second half of next year. In very difficult times for our country, HELLENIC PETROLEUM is committed to implementing its strategy for growth and competitiveness, involving a major investment programme of over EUR 2 billion in 2009-11 focused on refining and marketing businesses and a major performance improvement initiative.”

In the energy sector in Greece, EIB financing has been directed towards securing sustainable energy supplies, reducing the burden on the environment and promoting the development of new sustainable energy sources. Significant projects in this sector include support for (i) Public Power Corporation’s network modernisation, involving several schemes to reinforce and extend electricity transmission and distribution networks throughout the country; (ii) the Greek Natural Gas company’s priority Trans-European Network schemes, notably investments in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Revithoussa, which increased capacity and enhanced overall security of supply; and (iii) the construction of the high pressure gas pipeline connecting Komotini with Alexandroupolis and the Turkish natural gas network at the Greek-Turkish border. In the private sector, the TERNA renewable energy project involves the construction of wind farms to generate renewable energy, thus furthering EU and national policy objectives on renewable energy and climate change.

About the EIB

What is the EIB?

The European Investment Bank was created by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 as the long-term lending bank of the European Union. The Bank’s remit is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States. The EIB raises substantial volumes of funds on the capital markets which it lends on favourable terms to projects furthering EU policy objectives. The EIB continuously adapts its activity to developments in EU policies.

What types of project does it finance?

There are six financing priorities, which are laid down by the shareholders and the EU, mainly in the following sectors:

1.    convergence and cohesion, involving the poorest regions of the EU
2.    small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
3.    energy
4.    research, development and innovation
5.    infrastructure
6.    environmental protection

About Hellenic Petroleum

Founded in 1998, Hellenic Petroleum is one of the leading energy groups in South-East Europe, with activities spanning the energy value chain and in 11 countries. Its shares are primarily listed on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX: ELPE), and its market capitalisation exceeds EUR 2 billion. In 2009, Group adjusted net earnings amounted to EUR 150 million from total revenues of EUR 6.8 billion. Hellenic Petroleum’s key shareholders are the Greek State (35.5%) and Paneuropean Oil and Industrial Holdings S.A. (39.5%), with the remaining 25% free float, split between institutional (16.5%) and private (8.5%) investors.

Refining is the Group’s core business, accounting for over 70% of total assets and profitability. Hellenic Petroleum owns three of the four refineries in Greece, with an approximately 70% share of the Greek wholesale oil products market.

The Group is the domestic marketing leader as well, through its fully-owned subsidiaries EKO and Hellenic Fuels (formerly BP Hellas). EKO’s activities comprise a retail network of some 1 200 service stations throughout Greece as well as LPG, industrial, aviation and marine fuels and lubricants businesses. The recent acquisition of BP’s Ground Fuels business activities in Greece (renamed ‘Hellenic Fuels’) further enhanced the Group’s domestic position in marketing. The deal included BP’s nationwide network of 1 200 branded service stations, storage facilities of 170 000m3, as well as the commercial and industrial supply business.

Hellenic Petroleum is a leading player in South-East European markets. The Group owns the sole refinery in the Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia (FYROM) and is one of the key fuel marketing players in Cyprus, Serbia, Bulgaria, FYROM, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Georgia, via a network of more than 300 retail petrol stations.

Hellenic Petroleum owns exploration assets in Egypt, Greece and Montenegro. Currently, the E&P operations are focused on Egypt, where the Group is the operator of the West Obayed block (100% stake) and has a 30% stake in a consortium that has been awarded the Mesaha block in Upper Egypt.

Hellenic Petroleum is the sole petrochemicals producer in Greece, with operations integrated with its refineries. Its domestic market share is in excess of 50%, while exports account for almost 60% of sales. Key products are polypropylene, BOPP film, PVC, solvents and inorganics.

HellenIC Petroleum has entered into a strategic alliance with Italy’s EDISON to create one of Greece’s leading power producers. Elpedison, the recently formed 50/50 joint venture, targets a power generation portfolio of 1 500-2 000MW, towards which a 390MW CCGT plant is already in operation and a new 420MW CCGT plant is expected to start operations in 2010. Moreover, ELPEDISON is currently evaluating opportunities in renewable energy sources.

Hellenic Petroleum owns a 35% stake in Greece’s incumbent gas company, DEPA, which is the sole natural gas importer and wholesale supplier in the country. DEPA fully owns DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid owner and operator, and 51% of each of the local supply companies (EPAs).

Hellenic Petroleum actively participates in the development of key oil and gas transit pipelines. The Group is part of the consortium that is developing and will operate the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline and through its 35% stake in DEPA it participates in the development of the Italy-Greece-Turkey, Greece-Bulgaria and South Stream natural gas pipelines.

Citation: Press Release of the European Investment Bank BEI/10/77

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