Investment Plan for Europe: EIB continues to expand life-sciences activities providing funding of up to €100 million to Ottobock
Fresh funds will support Ottobock´s R&D programme over the coming years/ Financing of EU bank is provided under Investment Plan for Europe, or Juncker Plan
In a push to further expand its life-sciences activities in Germany, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing financing of up to €100 million to Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA, a world-leading manufacturer and supplier of prosthetic limbs, orthotic supports and wheelchairs. Ottobock will use the fresh funds in the period 2019-2022 for its European-based RDI programme related to new products and product improvements with a particular focus on prosthetics, orthotics and human mobility. The EU bank’s loan is backed by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan – under which the EIB and the European Commission are working together as strategic partners and the EIB’s financing operations are boosting the competitiveness of the European economy.
EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, who is responsible for EFSI and operations in Germany, said: “Innovation is crucial to survive in this industry and hence high R&D and technology spending is essential. While large players can leverage synergies and achieve economies of scale within their R&D departments, niche players such as Ottobock are often challenged to allocate resources and accelerate the RDI to keep up with the competition. This is exactly where EIB comes into play. For us, the EU bank, it is a top priority to support investment that is geared towards innovation and greater competitiveness. This is part of our mission to foster sustainable growth and jobs in Europe. I therefore very much welcome our cooperation with Ottobock, in particular as the company is celebrating its 100 birthday this year.”
European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “I am proud that the EU is supporting Ottobock’s innovation strategy via the EIB and the Investment Plan for Europe – not only because prosthetics and wheelchairs are vital to so many Europeans, but also because this money will help to sustain the more than 7,000 strong workforce. Investing in research and development keeps European companies at the forefront of technological advancement and maintains their competitive edge.”
Ottobocks Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jörg Wahlers said: “We are delighted that EIB is supporting us in financing R&D alongside long-standing international partners on the private bank side. Our aim is to make devices in Orthotics & Prosthetics (O&P) and wheelchairs even easier and more intuitive to use thanks to brand new technologies.”
Ottobocks Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Dr. Andreas Goppelt said: “After 100 years of innovation such as the C-Leg as the first microprocessor-controlled knee joint, the C-Brace as a sensor-controlled clay orthosis and our bebionic Hand prosthesis, that can be intuitively controlled thanks to our new Myo Plus pattern recognition, we will experience further major breakthroughs for users in the coming years thanks to digitalisation and AI. The EIB's support helps us a great deal in this respect.”
For 100 years Ottobock has been developing med-tech products and fitting solutions for people with limited mobility in the areas of Prosthetics, Orthotics and Human Mobility and provides patient care in its MedicalCare division. In 2018 the company transferred its biomechanical expertise to applications for the industry with its exoskeleton Paexo. The company’s international activities are coordinated from the head office in Duderstadt. Subsidiaries in 58 countries offer “Made in Germany” quality worldwide and employ more than 7,000 people. Ottobock has supported the Paralympic Games with its technical expertise since 1988.
About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
About the Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan, is one of the EU’s top priorities to boost investment and to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of existing and new financial resources. The EIB Group is playing a vital role in this investment drive. Through guarantees from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the EIB and the EIF are able to take on a higher share of project risk, encouraging private finance providers to participate in the projects. In addition, EFSI is accompanied by a new advisory service, the European Investment Advisory Hub, which enables public and private project operators to structure their investment projects more professionally. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise almost €450.6 billion in investments and support around more than one million start-ups and SMEs across all 28 Member States.