Transaction with SACE guarantee scheme to Bolster the Liquidity of MTM S.r.l in Cherasco, Italy
Westport Fuel Systems Inc. ("Westport Fuel Systems" or the "Company") (TSX:WPRT / Nasdaq:WPRT) today announced that they have secured a €15 million loan from UniCredit Italia ("UniCredit") to improve liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six-year €15 million term loan was issued under the Italian government's Decreto Liquidità (Liquidity Decree) SACE guarantee scheme, an enhanced framework of business supports established to manage the challenges associated with COVID-19. This loan provides MTM S.r.l. with improved liquidity for working capital, payroll, and capital investments.
"UniCredit's support Westport Fuel Systems' Italian activities - underlines Andrea Casini, Co-CEO of UniCredit Commercial Banking Italy - responds to the logic of supporting local businesses and accompanying an entrepreneurial reality that has always had an international vocation, which also thanks to prudent and strategic choices, ensured the safety and liquidity of its Italian activities, even more crucial in a period such as the current one. UniCredit's pan-European dimension has made allowed us to identify the best financial structure for the entire transaction with the SACE's guarantee scheme. Our goal as a Bank is to encourage the productive recovery of our economic fabric in the fastest way possible."
"As our Italian facilities return to full production, this loan from UniCredit provides improved liquidity and enables our team to focus squarely on serving our global customers and accelerating the economic recovery of our local operations" said Massimiliano Fissore, Executive Vice President, Transportation at Westport Fuel Systems. "The need for affordable, market-ready, and clean transportation is as urgent as ever and the economic advantage of gaseous fuel vehicles are a critical part of a green recovery post COVID-19 in Europe and around the world. Westport Fuel Systems' clean gaseous fuel systems powered by compressed natural gas ("CNG"), liquefied natural gas ("LNG"), renewable natural gas ("RNG"), liquified petroleum gas ("LPG"), and hydrogen are an affordable solution to the increasing global demand for sustainable transportation."
"UniCredit's unwavering commitment to the security and liquidity of Italian business during the COVID-19 pandemic further bolsters our strong and long-standing partnership" continued Frank Spiniello, Vice-President Finance Operations of Westport Fuel Systems. "As we return to serving our customers in markets around the world, this loan provides improved liquidity and the necessary support for the financial and operational flexibility of our Italian operations."
Westport Fuel Systems' Italian operations in Brescia (BS), Cherasco (CN), and Albinea (RE) employ more than 800 workers and represent 70% of the Company's production across Europe. According to Unione Nazionale Rappresentanti Automobili Estere ("UNRAE"), the number of Italian registrations of CNG fueled cars increased by 30.4% in the first quarter of 2020.
As per NGV Italy, a fueling infrastructure network of nearly 1,400 stations supports more than 1.3 million light-duty CNG cars and in certain regions, the market share of CNG vehicles exceeds 12% of the total number of light-duty cars on the road. A network of 75 LNG stations representing 25% of the total number of LNG stations in Europe supports a growing fleet of more than 2,500 LNG heavy-duty trucks which account for 1.3% of the total Italian heavy-duty fleet.
The Italian Transport Ministry provides compelling CNG and LNG vehicle deployment incentives of €4.000 for trucks with a total full load weight from 3.5 tonnes to 7 tonnes, €8.000 for trucks with a total full load weight from 7 tonnes to 16 tonnes, and €20.000 for trucks with a total full load weight over 16 tonnes including trucks powered by Westport HPDI 2.0TM.
As the third largest producer of renewable gas after Germany and China, Italy is committed to the greater deployment of renewable gas in transportation as part of its broader decarbonization and climate initiatives.
Vancouver, BC, July 24, 2020
UniCredit Media Relations
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