BRUSSELS, July 2 (UPI) -- Research and development programs by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri are to be financed through a loan from the European Investment Bank.
The total amount of the loan is about $177.2 million.
The first tranche of the loan is nearly $101.3 million.
The European Investment Bank is a European Union institution that makes long-term loans to further EU policy goals. The loan to Fincantieri is the banks first investment in Europe to promote research and development.
The bank said Fincantieri projects being funded will be in the areas of technological improvement of the energy efficiency and reduced fuel use by ships; enhanced ship design to increase vessel safety and and reduce their environmental impact; and design-related studies to reduce the size of vessels while increasing capacity.
"Greater energy efficiency and an improved environmental impact are areas that are fully consistent with the traditional financing activities of the European Union's bank and will also have the effect of increasing the employment generated by shipbuilding, whose manufacturing operations involve a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the country," the bank said.