EIB Plans to Lend Record 5.5 Billion Euros to Polish Projects

The European Investment Bank plans to grant a record 5.5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) of loans in Poland this year as the European Union’s biggest eastern state upgrades roads, power plants and waste management facilities.

The Luxembourg-based bank awarded 4.4 billion euros of credits in 2012, helping finance the upgrade of a highway from the capital Warsaw to Wroclaw and the modernization of power distribution networks for Tauron Polska Energia SA and Enea SA, the EU’s lending arm said in a presentation today. The bank’s level of funding next year will remain “similar” to 2013, EIB Vice President Anton Rop said at a news conference in Warsaw.

Lending to energy projects, which accounted for 13 percent of the EIB’s financing in 2012, will almost double to about 1 billion euros this year, Rop said.

The EIB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank said in November they plan to support eastern Europe with 30 billion euros in the next two years to shield it from the euro area’s debt crisis. Poland’s economic growth will slow this year to 1.2 percent, the weakest pace since 2001, according to the European Commission.

Tauron, Poland’s second-biggest power utility, said last month that its plan to sell 1.5 billion zloty ($471 million) of bonds this year will depend on the possibility of getting funds from other sources, including state-owned Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, government fund Polskie Inwestycje Rozwojowe SA and the EIB.

Poland accounted for half of the loans the bank granted in 2012 to the 12 new EU member states, the EIB said today.

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