The European Investment Bank (EIB), Societe Generale and Brittany Ferries announced yesterday the success of the first green maritime financing under EIB’s EUR 750m Green Shipping Guarantee (GSG) programme put in place last year by the EIB and Societe Generale. The new vessel ‘Honfleur’ will be Brittany Ferries’ first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ferry. It is scheduled to enter into service in April 2019 on its Caen-Ouistreham (France) and Portsmouth (UK) route.
The signing ceremony took place Monday at the Ministry for Europe & Foreign Affairs, at Quai d’Orsay in Paris, and was attended by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
In 2016, as part of the investment plan for Europe ("Juncker Plan") and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EIB and Societe Generale signed a EUR 150m guarantee framework agreement to support shipbuilding, and the modernization of existing vessels for sustainable transport and the protection of the environment, in line with the objectives of COP21.
The French shipping company, Brittany Ferries, is today a pioneer in the green maritime transport sector with the signature of the first ship financing supported by the bank of the European Union under the GSG programme whose action is primarily focused on respecting the environment and the fight against the effects of climate change. With the acquisition of its new ship Honfleur, Brittany Ferries confirms its momentum to develop LNG, currently the cleanest fuel source, thus contributing to a significant improvement in the environmental performance of its fleet.
Societe Generale acted as the main arranger of the EUR 142.6m financing for the acquisition of the Honfleur ferry commissioned by Brittany Ferries, which includes a tranche of EUR 49.5m fully guaranteed by the EIB.
"This green financing in the maritime sector is a 'first' at the European level," said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. "This is a particularly innovative financing, successfully carried out thanks to the European guarantee under the Juncker plan, the support of the CEF and Societe Generale's pilot role in this sector. By structuring riskier financing in a new sector, the bank of the European Union strongly reaffirms its commitment to sustainable, responsible and sustainable growth on an international level. Our goal is to support the efforts of French shipowners to develop a more environmentally friendly maritime transport thanks to an adapted and attractive financing tool. The environmental performance of the "Motorways of the Sea" is at the heart of our climate action in accordance with the commitments made at COP21 and the priorities of the French Government's Major Investment Plan. "
Jean-Marc Roué, Chairman of Brittany Ferries’ supervisory board said: "Brittany Ferries is doubly proud today. It is the very first shipping company to benefit from the framework agreement concluded in 2016 between the EIB and Société Générale, under the GSG Programme, thanks to the Juncker Plan and the CEF!. But also, thanks to this financing it becomes the first French passenger transport company to pave the way towards energy transition using LNG. Located in four European Union countries, Brittany Ferries is a truly European company and places its ambition to lead by example at the top of its priorities, as the recent COP23 requested of both States and businesses.”
Séverin Cabannes, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Societe Generale commented: "The success of this emblematic transaction is the result of a close collaboration between the EIB and Societe Generale, pilot bank in the implementation of this GSG programme, and the long-standing relationship with our client Brittany Ferries. On this occasion, Societe Generale reaffirms its support to its clients for the development of green maritime transport. This transaction, which is part of Societe Generale's "Sustainable & Positive Impact Finance" offer, also demonstrates our capacity to innovate and our pioneering spirit to develop financing solutions that integrate the environmental challenges of our clients."
The intervention of the EIB, combined with the European guarantee, has made it possible to optimise the structure of the financing by significantly reducing the financial burden borne by Brittany Ferries.
Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "This financing will enable Brittany Ferries to improve the energy efficiency of its vessels and thus reduce their ecological footprint. This low carbon project goes in the direction of history, with the One Planet Summit just getting underway. And more and more clean energy projects will be financed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments 2.0. "