Greek lead-acid battery maker Sunlight is to expand manufacturing and new product development boosted by a €12.5 million (US$14.2m) financial shot in the arm from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Sunlight, part of the Olympia Group, said it will “significantly increase manufacturing capacity” at its plant in Xanthi, northern Greece thanks to the loan— the first support for industrial investment in Greece under a new EIB lending initiative backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
The seven-year loan will underpin development of new production equipment and “strengthen research and development of new battery products at one of the most advanced industrial plants in Europe, as well as increase the working capital inventory of the company”, Sunlight said.
Sunlight CEO Vassilis Billis said the company already exports specialist batteries to more than 100 countries. “The new EIB support will enable Sunlight to strengthen development of a new generation of batteries, crucial for renewable energy, transport and telecoms, and accelerate innovation.”
Greece’s deputy prime minister and economy and development minister, Yiannis Dragasagis, said investing in Sunlight’s future was also “crucial for the sustainable and balanced regional development of the country”.
Sunlight employs more than 840 people and its subsidiaries develop, produce and recycle batteries used for a broad range of applications including forklifts and industrial vehicles, off-grid renewable energy systems and smart grids, telecoms, and back-up rail signalling. More than 98% of the company’s production is exported.
Earlier this year, the EIB agreed to finance construction of a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Sweden with a loan of up to €52.5m.