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SOFIA (Bulgaria), January 12 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) said on Friday it signed a 100 million euro ($121.3 million) loan deal with Bulgarian agri-pharma company Huvepharma to finance a capacity expansion project of its majority-owned subsidiary Biovet.
The loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe, EIB said in a statement.
"It is a great pleasure to be here to sign the biggest EFSI transaction in Bulgaria so far: 100 million euro to Biovet. Thanks to the EU budget guarantee, the EIB was able to offer the company this loan and as a result we will see more R&D activity in rural areas in Bulgaria, leading to growth in the economy and the creation of new jobs," European Commission's vice-president Jyrki Katainen said in the statement.
The project covers the design, construction and management of two new facilities: a fermentation facility for the manufacturing of active substances, nutritional supplements, enzymes, probiotics and ready medicinal formulations for animal and human health, and a new plant for the manufacturing of animal vaccines.
Both new facilities are located close to the existing manufacturing sites of Biovet. The fermentation facility will be located in Peshtera, in southern Bulgaria, 125 km south-east of Sofia. The vaccine plant will be located in Razgrad, in north-eastern Bulgaria, approximately 130 km from Varna.
The project will be implemented between 2017 and 2019 and will create 210 additional jobs in Bulgarian areas characterised by high levels of unemployment, EIB noted.
Biovet has three production plants - in Peshtera, Botevgrad, and Razgrad.
Bulgaria's government said earlier this month it approved a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Biovet to support the implementation of its investment project worth 293.4 million levs ($180.3 million/150 million euro). Under the MoU, Biovet will receive state support in relation to the deadlines and the provision of administrative services, as well as in obtaining limited ownership rights.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)