REI Analysis: More than EUR 5bn in Non-reimbursable Financing Projects to Come to Market in H1 2024

  • The call on the Just Transition Programme, with a total allocation of EUR 1 bn, is already open
  • Over EUR 1bn support for green energy investments
  • Support of over EUR 1bn for the agricultural sector

At least eight funding programmes are already open or in the process of being launched by the authorities this year, with a total allocation of around EUR 5 billion according to a REI analysis, one of the largest consultancy firms specialising in attracting grant funding for both private companies and public authorities.

The grant support, available in the form of both state aid and European funds, is aimed at investments in green energy production and increasing energy efficiency for companies, in the production of construction materials, in the food sector or in the reindustrialisation of certain key regions of the country, by increasing the number of employees and stimulating investment in development.

“It is one of the largest and most important allocations of non-reimbursable funds for companies in Romania since joining the EU in 2007, and the funding programmes support investments in key sectors that can develop the economy and attract significant local investors. We are working and talking to many companies preparing important local investments and most of them are considering non-refundable support from the government, both in the form of state aid and access to European funds. We see progress even at the level of ministries, which have hired specialised staff, which have announced the digitalisation of certain key processes, so we are optimistic and expect 2024 to be a much better than 2023,” Roxana Mircea, Managing Partner at REI Grup stated.

Among the major funding programmes in the first half of this year REI Grup mentions:

1.Just Transition Programme (JTP)

  • Session: Open, 20.12.2023 – 20.03.2024
  • Support: in the form of grants of up to EUR 200,000 between EUR 200,000 and EUR 8 million
  • Dedicated only to Hunedoara, Gorj, Dolj, Prahova, Galati and Mures counties
  • Allocation: EUR 1bn (est.)
  • Eligible applicants: start-ups, SMEs, large enterprises
  • Objective: to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the transition to climate neutrality for the counties of Hunedoara, Gorj, Dolj, Prahova, Galati and Mures
  • Responsible authority: Ministry of Investments and European Projects (MIEP)
  • Session details:

2.Modernisation Fund in Romania – Key Programme 1: Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Storage

  • Session: Opening Q1 (est.)
  • Support: up to EUR 20mn/project
  • Investment directions:

Self-consumption: allocation EUR 500mn/approx. 45-50% grant/EUR 350,000/MW (est.)

Production: allocation EUR 550mn/ EUR 100 – 130,000/MW (est.)

The Modernisation Fund programme started in November last year with the session dedicated to the agricultural sector, where farmers were able to access EUR 150mn of the more than EUR 500mn made available by the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development (MADR). Towards the end of the year, the session dedicated to public authorities was also launched, with a competitive procedure based on the “first come, first served” principle.

More than 700 municipalities and local councils submitted projects on the first day of the session, where the REI team managed to secure a significant share of the projects, representing over 20% of the total.

“For the next round of photovoltaic or battery storage projects under the Modernisation Fund programme, which will be launched in the coming period, we recommend that the feasibility study and urban planning certificate are prepared when the project is submitted, and that the technical approval for connection (ATR) is requested at the time of contracting. This is one of the most eagerly awaited funding programmes this year and the interest is very high,” Roxana Mircea added.

3.INVESTALIM Programme (Session 2 – 2024)

  • Session: Opening Q1 (est.)
  • Support: minimum EUR 500,000
  • Co-funding: min. 25%
  • Eligible fields: food industry, processing, baking CAEN: 1011, 1012, 1013, 1020, 1031, 1032, 1039, 1041, 1051, 1061, 1071, 1081
  • Eligible applicants: start-ups, SMEs, large enterprises
  • Responsible authority: Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development (MADR)
  • Allocation: EUR 450mn
  • Session details:

The first session of the INVESTALIM programme initially took place from 27 October to 27 November, and due to the high level of interest, MADR extended the session for a further 30 days. A total of 49 projects were submitted for this first call, with a total investment value, including co-financing, of over EUR 1 billion and a total state aid requested of over EUR 300 million, more than double the amount allocated for the session.

“There are discussions within the Ministry to increase the allocation for Session 2 this year to over EUR 450mn, but this detail is currently under consideration. Interest remains very high, and we are in talks on a daily basis with major agri-food clients for important production projects. Approximately 20% of the projects submitted in the first session of INVESTALIM were intermediated by REI and the investments concerned meat processing, bakery or oil production/refining and amounted to approximately EUR 220 million,” Roxana Mircea noted.

4.Waste Management – Recycling – NRRP

  • Session: February – March (est.)
  • Objective: development and modernisation of municipal waste management systems
  • Support: between EUR 500,000 and max. EUR 8.4mn/project
  • Eligible applicants: SMEs, large enterprises
  • Allocation: EUR 220mn
  • Responsible authority: Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests (MMAP)
  • Session details:

Postponed and delayed for about 2 years, Waste Management is one of the most eagerly awaited funding schemes for companies wishing to invest in recycling plants. The original budget announced by MMAP was over EUR 280mn, but the current allocation has dropped to around EUR 220mn.

5.CONSTRUCTPLUS – State aid for the building materials industry

  • Session: February call opening (est.)
  • Objective: Production of building materials
  • Allocation: EUR 150mn. (est.)
  • Eligible applicants: start-ups, micro, SMEs, large enterprises
  • Responsible authority: Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Tourism (MEET)
  • Support: up to EUR 57,75mn (large enterprises), i.e. 70% maximum State aid intensity

Announced last year, CONSTRUCTPLUS is the most anticipated funding programme for companies active in the production of construction materials. With a consolidated Guide already released to the market, entered in the Government meeting on January 11th, the call is expected to open on February 15th and will be active for one month.

“We have dozens of discussions and projects in the pipeline on this funding scheme, so much awaited by manufacturers of building materials, one of the most important investment sectors in the country. Although the allocation is relatively small compared to the existing demand in the market, we would like the Ministry to consider increasing the allocation for future sessions, similar to what is being negotiated for INVESTALIM,” Roxana Mircea stated.

6.Grants for the development of advanced digital technologies – NRRP

  • Allocation: EUR 150mn
  • Support: min. EUR 500,000 – max. EUR 3mn/project
  • Session: Q1 2024
  • Areas to be covered: food industry, manufacturing, construction, automotive industry, transport and distribution, household services, tourism, and other eligible sectors
  • Eligible expenditure: acquisition of tangible and intangible assets, acquisition of blockchain technologies, acquisition of tangible and intangible assets, cyber security, acquisition of artificial intelligence systems, machine learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, acquisition of data services and cloud computing, eligible expenditure of research projects
  • Responsible authority: Ministry of European Investment and Projects (MIPE)

7.Regional Programmes 2021-2027 – SME investment financing

  • Call launch calendar: RP CENTRE – Jan. 2024, RP WEST – March-April 2024, RP SOUTH MUNTENIA – March-April 2024, RP SOUTH-WEST – March-April 2024
  • Financing: min. EUR 20.000 – max. EUR 3mn, own contribution approx. 30%.
  • Eligible applicants: micro-enterprises, SMEs
  • Eligible expenses: construction of premises, purchase of equipment, software, etc.
  • Allocation: EUR 700mn (SMEs)
  • Targeted benefits: development and technological upgrading of SMEs, growth of dynamic SMEs with orientation towards smart specialisation sectors, increased productive investments in SMEs, increased technological capabilities, acquisition of specific skills

8.National Strategic Plan 2023-2027 (allocation: EUR 938mn)

  • DR-20 Investment in the zootechnical sector: allocation of approx. EUR 220mn – call launch Q1 2024
  • DR-22 Investments in packaging, storage, and processing of agricultural and fruit products: allocation of approx. EUR 210mn – call launch Q1 2024
  • DR-15 Investment in fruit growing holdings: allocation of approx. EUR 150mn – call launch Q1 2024
  • DR-13 Purchase of agricultural machinery for the crop sector: allocation of approx. EUR 100mn – call launch Q1 2024
  • DR-14 Investment in small farms: allocation of approx. EUR 108mn: allocation – call launch Q1 2024
  • DR-16 Investment in the vegetable and/or potato sector: allocation of approx. EUR 150mn – call launch Q1 2024

In addition to the eight major funding programmes announced for this year, other schemes are being prepared by the ministries, including a new version of the scheme regulated by GD 807/2014, which in recent years has been the most important support solution for companies specialising in manufacturing, a new session of the scheme regulated by GD 959/2022, dedicated to the manufacturing industry, RePowerEU, a major funding programme dedicated to increasing energy efficiency and independence from fossil fuels, as well as other programmes in the NRRP, which represent another 40 billion euros of investment and development funds for both the public and private sectors.

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