The year 2019 of the Nordic Project Fund (Nopef) was characterised by a good project activity, especially during the second half of the year, and by a growing application activity among Nordic companies with operations related to renewable energy and other climate solutions.
Nopef offers Nordic companies financial support for assessing and preparing international investments and establishments of business operations on foreign markets outside the EU/Efta area. During the year, 36 Nordic companies finalised their projects by establishing international business operations through a subsidiary, joint venture or a comparable investment in the project country. Moreover, Nopef approved financing totalling EUR 2.3 million to 66 new projects.
The project activity within renewable energy has continued to increase and at year-end the sector represented 30 per cent of the active portfolio. Other large sectors represented are energy efficiency, resource efficiency and sustainable consumption, all contributing to the green transition.
“Through this internationalisation support Nordic companies get better possibilities to scale up and grow. We expect the completed projects to generate investments totalling some EUR 36 million. In addition, the established business operations also create job opportunities both in the project country and in the Nordics, as more than 70 per cent of the companies make use of Nordic subcontractors,” said Mikael Reims, Vice President, Origination at NEFCO.
“In 2019, we also enhanced the Nopef programme to support the development and implementation of commercial demonstration and pilot projects for green technologies or solutions, in addition to feasibility studies. This has already generated a lot of interest among the applicants.”
The share of financed feasibility studies resulting in a completed international establishment rose to 73 per cent compared to 64 per cent a year earlier. These projects were distributed across 17 project countries, the biggest single markets being the USA, China and India.
Nopef’s annual budget from the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) for 2019 amounted to EUR 2.1 million. By the end of the year, all of the agreed targets with NCM had been exceeded, including the targets for new loans and for the number of completed projects.
Nopef is a project fund managed by NEFCO since 2014 and financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The primary objective is to support the internationalisation of Nordic small and medium-sized (SMEs) and midcap companies outside the EU/Efta by offering grants for feasibility studies and commercial demonstration projects for green technologies or solutions. Over the years, some 3,000 projects have received financing from Nopef, resulting in more than 1,000 established businesses outside the Nordic countries.
Mikael Reims, Vice President, Origination, NEFCO
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NEFCO is an international financial institution established by the five Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. NEFCO finances small and medium-sized environmental projects and offers Nordic growth companies various financing options for international scale-up. The aim is to support the implementation of Nordic green solutions on the global market and to improve their competitiveness. NEFCO has financed more than 1,400 private and public projects across 80 countries particularly in Eastern Europe, the Baltic Sea Region, the Barents Sea Region and other Arctic Regions. NEFCO’s headquarters are in Helsinki. Read more www.nefco.org.