German environmental bank Umweltbank goes from strength to strength

Listed group posts double-digit growth in assets and profits

Umweltbank, a German bank founded in 1997 to finance environmental projects, has reported double-digit increases in its business volume, balance sheet assets and profit for the first half of 2012.

Business volume at the Nuremberg-based bank rose 14% year-on-year to €2.4bn while assets at the end of June stood at €2.2bn, up 18% from a year ago. Profits rose 24% to €11.2m.

Umweltbank said in a statement that it had written €202m in new loans during the first half. Of that, 44% went to finance solar power, 29% to ecological construction, 22% to wind and hydropower and 5% to projects for biogas and biomass. Client deposits, the basis for the bank’s environmental loans, now totals €1.45bn – an increase of 15% in the year.

Chief Executive Horst Popp said the bank aimed to maintain its growth in the second half. “If our financing ofsolar power should weaken, we will be able to compensate that with more business for wind power and ecological construction,” Popp said.

The government has decided to wind down its generous subsidy programme for solar power. As a result, no more than 3500MW of new annual capacity will be subsidised and solar parks generating an excess of 10MW will not receive support. The subsidies are also slated to end when Germany installs 5200GW of solar capacity. Currently, 2800GW is installed.

Umweltbank is traded on Frankfurt’s stock exchange and 85% of its shares are in free-float. The bank listed in June 2011, trading at €9 per share; it is currently trading at around €27.

The bank is also represented in the Global Challenges Index (GCX), a 50-member sustainable index created by Oekom research and the Hanover bourse.