Valmet Automotive is to benefit from a European Investment Bank (EIB) EUR20m (US$21.5m) loan for its plans to scale up research, development and innovation (RDI).

The operation is supported by the new generation of financial instruments for innovative and growth companies ‘InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators’ with the financial backing of the European Union using Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments. 

“Valmet Automotive is a sound company with innovative automotive solutions,” said EIB Vice-President Jan Vapaavuori. “With its focus on research and development, the investment is expected to strengthen the innovativeness and competitiveness of Valmet Automotive in a highly competitive market segment, as well as contribute to the safeguarding of skilled employment in the Finnish automotive industry.

“The collaboration between the European Commission [EC] and the EIB on InnovFin has been exemplary, to the benefit to many Finnish industries that have preceded Valmet Automotive in receiving support for their innovative plans.” 

In particular the loan will finance Valmet Automotive’s investment programme for the development of new products – including rooftop systems for convertibles – and manufacturing processes as well as covering costs for upgrading its IT and supply chain management system.

“Valmet Automotive is growing fast, having more than tripled its workforce in three years and is at the forefront of manufacturing in Finland,” added EC Commission vice-president, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen.

“With this new EIB loan it will be able to upgrade its processes and develop new products. Finland is a highly innovative country, and I am pleased Valmet Automotive will use this support from the EU to continue innovating and pushing new boundaries.

“It is particularly welcome Valmet Automotive places a strong emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability, which are core EU values.”

Data from just-auto’s Qube service notes roof makers are reporting strong consumer need for light and air, while the retractable hard top market appears to have cooled in its appeal after an initial surge in interest.