The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a 20 million ($25.7 million) loan to German high-tech engineering company and thin film manufacturer Manz AG.
Manz will use the funds for CIGS research and development in Germany. The financial support is part of a joint initiative by the EIB and the European Commission and made possible by a new financial instrument that takes into account the specific requirements of midcap companies in the field of R&D financing, according to the EIB.
Manz specializes in the development and production of automation machinery and equipment. The company develops integrated production lines that are deployed in the flat screen and sensor display, thin-film solar and lithium-ion batteries segments.
The EIB financing will primarily benefit the company’s R&D in the PV sector. The companys research program is scheduled for completion by 2016. Manz’s CIGS technology (based on copper, indium, gallium and selenium) is among the world leaders, with currently the highest sunlight-to-energy efficiency for CIGS and other thin-film PV modules, and competitive costs compared to cSi PV technology. CIGS modules are currently considered to be the most efficient on the market.
EIB Vice President Wilhelm Molterer called the bank’s financial support crucial: "To be able to deliver strong research achievements as here in the field of sustainable and renewable energies reliable financial support is vital. This is particularly the case when it comes to small and medium-sized companies. The example of Manz demonstrates that a medium-sized company can be well on a par with its international competitors and be a technology leader. Yet, this requires stable financing conditions in the long run."
It would be a central task for both the EIB and the EU Commission to ensure these conditions, added Molterer, whose responsibilities include the bank’s financing activities in Germany.
Manz’s R&D project is supported by InnovFin EU Finance for Innovators MidCap Growth Finance, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments. InnovFin is a new range of EIB Group products designed to facilitate access to finance for innovative businesses.
InnovFin MidCap Growth Finance is part of InnovFin EU Finance for Innovators and enables the EIB to provide between 7.5 million and 25 million in long-term senior, subordinated or mezzanine loans to innovative businesses in order to support their growth and investments in research and innovation.
InnovFin is a joint initiative by the EIB and the European Commission under Horizon 2020, the EU framework for research and innovation 2014-2020.
The InnovFin program follows the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility developed under the seventh EU framework for research and technological development, which financed 114 research and innovation projects between 2007 and 2013 worth 11.3 billion and provided loan guarantees for another 1.4 billion.