EIB announces green maritime financing success

The European Investment Bank (EIB), Société Générale and Brittany Ferries have announced a success with its first green maritime financing under EIB’s €750m Green Shipping Guarantee (GSG) programme put in place last year by the EIB and Société Générale. 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 on December 11th at the Ministry for Europe & Foreign Affairs in Paris. In 2016, as part of the investment plan for Europe ( the so-called Juncker Plan) and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EIB and Société Générale signed a €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.

Société Générale acted as the main arranger of the €142.6m financing for the acquisition of the Honfleur ferry commissioned by Brittany Ferries, which includes a tranche of €49.5m that is fully guaranteed by the EIB.

France-based Brittany Ferries employs 2,700 people and  transports 2.6m passengers (85% from UK), 200,000 freight vehicles, and 900,000 tourist vehicles between France, the UK, Ireland and Spain.

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.”

The financing of Honfleur is the first project under the Green Shipping Guarantee (GSG) programme, supported by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Debt Instrument and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The Programme is designed both for general fleet renewal and the retrofitting of ships with sustainable technologies such as LNG. The GSG Programme is a follow-up to the work of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF), an expert group bringing together Member States, maritime industries’ stakeholders and the Commission.