A consortium of nine banks including the EBRD approved a EUR 230 million loan to SIJ Group’s two largest subsidiaries. The Slovenian steelmaker said it would refinance debt and invest in energy efficiency as part of its decarbonization efforts.
Nova Ljubljanska banka (NLB) leads a group of nine foreign and domestic lenders that signed a seven-year syndicated agreement worth EUR 230 million with the largest steel companies of the SIJ Group – SIJ Acroni and SIJ Metal Ravne. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said it is participating with EUR 25 million to support the Slovenian industrial producer’s efforts to further reduce its environmental impact.
SIJ Group revealed it would use the funds to refinance its loan portfolio, provide additional liquidity and invest in its development and in the improvement of its environmental efficiency. In its strategy for the period through 2025, the steelmaker vowed to increase production efficiency and sustainable development, especially in environmental projects, and to operate according to the principles of the circular economy and energy efficiency.
EBRD’s share in loan to be partly used for improvement in ESG reporting
EBRD said its funds would be directed to capital expenditure for energy efficiency improvement at SIJ’s production sites in Jesenice and Ravne na Koroškem, contributing to the company’s decarbonization efforts and meeting the criteria for a substantial contribution towards climate change mitigation under the European Union’s taxonomy.
The international financing institution’s participation will help the steel manufacturer improve its climate-related financial disclosures, the announcement adds.
“We are pleased to extend our collaboration with SIJ, one of the most efficient steel producers globally, and finance their ongoing efforts towards reducing further the environmental footprint of their operations and improving their climate-related disclosures,” EBRD’s Global Head of Manufacturing and Services Frederic Lucenet said.
Chief Financial Officer of the SIJ Group Igor Malevanov expressed gratitude for the bank’s support in the company’s efforts to improve reporting on its environmental, social, and corporate governance or ESG.
Production is based on 100% scrap steel
SIJ Group already has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the steel industry globally, and it manufactures its products from 100% recyclable steel scrap, EBRD said.
The remaining members of the banking group are Nova Kreditna banka Maribor, state-owned export and development bank SID, SKB banka, Erste Group Bank, Banka Sparkasse, Banka Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit Banka Slovenia.
NLB noted that it arranged a sale of EUR 13 million in bonds and EUR 30 million in short-term debt for SIJ Group in December.