The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide a €100m loan to support the research and development activities of German-based Heidelberger Druckmaschinen.

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen develops, produces and distributes technology for commercial and packaging printing.

Expected to run for several years, the research and development programme will focus on digitisation, software integration and expansion of the company’s digital printing portfolio.

EIB will provide the loan under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) framework in seven-year phases.

"Heidelberg proves that it pays to invest in research and development, and EFSI is helping to keep this innovative spirit alive in Europe."

The funding is expected to help the company to drive digitisation in the industry and further expand packaging, digital and services growth segments.

EIB vice-president Ambroise Fayolle said: "I’m delighted that our first EFSI project for a German corporate customer allows us to support a company whose products and services have long enabled it to stand its ground in a challenging market.

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"Heidelberg proves that it pays to invest in research and development, and EFSI is helping to keep this innovative spirit alive in Europe."

The loan aims to make print shops more competitive by integrating and automating the entire value chain of industrial customers, as well as enabling the company’s customers to expand their business models with new digital printing solutions.

Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe said: "Over the next seven years, the EIB development loan will help us finance our research and development projects for digitisation on attractive terms.

"The financing framework is the basis for implementing the innovation strategy at Heidelberg and thus achieving the sustained profitable growth we are aiming for."