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EFSI names board, backs projects financed by Danish schemes

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A former head of France’s debt management office has been named to the board of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) as the European Commission confirmed projects backed by Danish pension funds would be offered a investment guarantee. 

Ambroise Fayolle, vice-president for innovation at the European Investment Bank (EIB), is one of four members of the EFSI’s steering board, set to oversee the fund’s investment activities. 

Fayolle, who spent two years as chief executive at Agence France Trésor and has also acted as the French representative to the IMF and World Bank boards, will be joined by Maarten Verwey, a board member for the European Investment Fund. 

Verwey is also a former deputy director-general of the directorate-general for economic and financial affairs and has held a number of roles within the Dutch Ministry of Finance, including head of credit export finance. 

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Gerassimos Thomas and Irmfried Schwimann from the directorates-general energy and competition will also sit on the board. 

Their appointments come as the Commission said it would guarantee investments made by a new fund launched by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

The latest fund is among a series of infrastructure investment programmes and projects to be guaranteed by the European Union.

Copenhagen Infrastructure II, financed by a number of Danish pension funds, is one of eight entities to be given a guarantee under the €350bn EFSI, which will be active by “early autumn”, the European Commission said.

EFSI, part of EC president Jean-Claude Juncker’s mobilising Investment Plan for Europe, will guarantee the Abengoa research, development and innovation II project; energy efficiency in residential buildings; Grifols Bioscience R&D; the Äänekoski bio-product mill; Redexis Gas Transmission and Distribution; the Arvedi Modernisation Programme; and PPP primary healthcare centres in Ireland.

PensionDanmark invested DKK4bn (€536m) in Copenhagen Infrastructure II, which has a total commitment of DKK14.7bn and is investing in large energy-related investments – including offshore wind, biomass and transmission schemes – through mezzanine and equity.

The new fund is focusing on energy infrastructure in Northern and Western Europe, as well as North America. 

The fund has invested in a biomass power plant in England and two offshore wind projects in Scotland and Germany.

The EIB recently provided equity-type financing of up to €75m to Copenhagen Infrastructure II. 

The financing was proposed for backing by EFSI. 

In February, Germany said it would contribute €8bn to the investment plan through government-owned development bank KfW.

Spain’s Instituto de Crédito Oficial also gave its backing with €1.5bn, as did France’s Caisse des Dépôts and Bpifrance (BPI), with €8bn.

Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) contributed €8bn, while the UK has contributed £6bn (€8.5bn).

In all, nine member states have so far backed the plan.

Read more on the investment plan here

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